Looking to extend their road unbeaten streak to seven matches, the New England Revolution visit a house of horrors for them Saturday night when they face the New York Red Bulls in a critical Eastern Conference clash.
The Revolution (9-9-7) have charged all the way to sixth in the East with their dramatic turnaround following the arrival of Bruce Arena and are 3-0-3 in their last six road contests after taking two points from the first six. But New England, which beat New York 1-0 on April 20, has known little but misery in recent years making the trek down I-95.
They have lost four straight at Red Bull Arena and are 1-9-6 in their last 16 visits, a run that spans back to 2007. The lone victory came in 2014, but there is optimism after New England salvaged a 3-3 draw last Saturday at another hostile venue in Seattle, getting a point after Carles Gil converted a penalty on 87 minutes.
"There are segments of that game we played very well and other segments that we didn't play well," Arena said. "It continues to show the growth of our team that we've been able to go on the road and get results over the last couple of months and that's a positive."
Gustavo Bou scored his third goal in five matches since his mid-season move from Tijuana in Liga MX, and Gil has found greater freedom with the Argentine's arrival, totaling four goals and four assists in those matches.
The Revs will be without center back Andrew Farrell, who will serve a one-match ban for yellow card accumulation. Michael Mancienne, who scored in his return from a three-month absence due to injury, and Jalil Anibaba will likely be the pairing in front of Matt Turner with Antonio Delamea also expected to miss out due to injury.
New York (11-10-4) is 7-2-1 in its last 10 home games after dropping two of its first three but has been unable to find upward mobility in the playoff race. The Red Bulls are three points ahead of the Revolution in fifth place but have alternated wins and losses in their last six matches following a 4-2 defeat at league frontrunner Los Angeles FC on Sunday.
A goal by Cristian Casseres Jr. and an own goal by LAFC late in the first half erased a two-goal deficit, but recent signee and defender Rece Buckmaster fouled Eduard Atuesta in the box, leading to MLS top scorer Carlos Vela converting a go-ahead penalty in the 61st minute.
"We let in two set piece goals and a penalty, if you prevent that, you have a chance to win the game," striker Brian White said at practice Wednesday. "After a loss you want to bounce back, especially against an Eastern Conference team where the standings are so tight, so it will be a big game for us and we have to be up for it.
"They beat us twice this year, once in New England and then in the Open Cup, it's going to be important for us to get a result. They're getting results, they're a better team than they were before."
New England also recorded a 3-2 victory after extra time in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup on June 11 on the road in a match not played at Red Bull Arena. Teal Bunbury forced the extra half-hour with a goal in the 85th minute and scored the match-winner early in the second extra period.