After shaky starts to their seasons, the New England Revolution and New York Red Bulls could both use a victory in Saturday night's matchup at Red Bull Arena, though soccer won't be the only thing on the minds of those in attendance.
The Revolution (1-2-2) will play their first game since Monday's bombings at the Boston Marathon and its aftermath, and while it will be on the road, the Red Bulls (2-2-4) are taking a few measures to make their visitors feel at home.
The team will honor Boston with a moment of reflection prior to the playing of the National Anthem, and all revenues from merchandise sales during the match will be donated to The One Fund Boston.
Players will also wear black armbands over their jerseys to honor the victims of the attacks.
"It's very reminiscent of 9/11, in the sense that 9/11, the world was - everybody was a New Yorker," Red Bulls coach Mike Petke told the team's official website. "Now, after this happened, everybody's from Boston. It's true."
For the Revolution, two players may have particularly heavy hearts.
The status of goalkeeper Matt Reis for Saturday's match is not known, as his father-in-law was among those injured in the explosions near the finish line of the marathon. His father-in-law remains in the hospital and Reis has not practiced this week, though he visited with his teammates Wednesday. The girlfriend of defender Chris Tierney was also hurt in Monday's events.
"Of course, I'd like to get back here and play and be with the guys and around the guys," Reis told the league's official website. "Right now, that's not necessarily the most important thing. My teammates know that. It's important for me to support my family now and make sure we get through this."
Reis, who has posted shutouts in both of his starts, has been part of an impressive New England defense thus far. The Revolution have surrendered a league-low two goals, but they also have the fewest goals scored with one.
The lone goal came in the team's only win, a 1-0 victory at Chicago on March 9. While New England has limited opponents to two goals in four matches since, the club is also scoreless over that span with only seven shots on goal.
The Revolution carry a franchise-worst 388-minute scoreless streak into Saturday's match.
"It's a good thing that we know (our defense) is good, but at the same time, if you're under pressure an entire game, it's going to break eventually," midfielder Clyde Simms told the team's official website.
New York, meanwhile, is playing its third match in eight days and would like to quickly erase the memory of Wednesday's 1-0 home loss to Sporting Kansas City.
The Red Bulls aren't nearly as stingy, second-to-last in the league with 11 goals allowed in eight games. But they also generate many more chances than the Revolution, accounting for 4.4 shots on goal per game.
New England has been outscored 5-1 while losing all three of its trips to Red Bull Arena.
The teams split two matches last year before a draw in their final meeting.
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