Foxborough, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - The New England Revolution will aim to secure their first trip to MLS Cup final since 2007 on Saturday when the club welcomes the New York Red Bulls to Gillette Stadium for the second leg of the Eastern Conference final tie.
The Revolution have been one of the hottest teams in the league coming down the stretch and are in fine form with five wins and a draw over their last six matches.
Jay Heap's club simply has to avoid a complete disaster in the second leg in order to advance after coming away with an impressive 2-1 win over New York in the first leg back on Nov. 23, thanks to a late goal from U.S. international Jermaine Jones.
The visitors opened the scoring in the 16th minute as Teal Bunbury did well to collect the ball on the right side of the pitch. He cut inside on his left foot and unleashed a wicked, curling strike just inside the far post for the opening salvo.
"I thought Teal showed not just his pace, but you saw the movement to get open on the goal. I thought 'that's Teal Bunbury.' When you get him a little bit of space, he can create and I think he's been excellent for us," Heaps said.
The Red Bulls drew level 10 minutes later as Peguy Luyindula slipped in behind the New England defense but his point blank attempt was stopped by Revs goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Luyindula had a second bite of the cherry from the seat of his pants that smacked the crossbar, but Bradley Wright Phillips cleaned up the rebound.
The winning tally came in the 85th minute as materialized as MVP candidate Lee Nguyen drove down the center of the pitch at the New York defense. He laid the ball off on the right flank to Bunbury, who then played it across the face of goal for Jones, who tapped it in at the back post.
New England has been nearly unbeatable on home soil as the club has won its last seven straight home matches, including a 3-1 win over Columbus in the East semifinals. The Revs' last home last came back on July 26.
To make matters worse for New York, the visitors will be without their biggest offensive threat, Bradley Wright-Phillips, due to suspension. Wright-Phillips, who fired in 27 goals during the regular season, was shown a yellow card in the 60th minute in the opening leg and will be forced to sit out on Saturday due to accumulation.
"I didn't know the rules of the yellow card accumulation. I'm angry obviously, I'm angry. Stupid yellow card and now I have to pay," Wright-Phillips said.
Despite missing Wright-Phillips, New York will have Thierry Henry available as the Frenchman will play on artificial turf at Gillette for the first time in his MLS career.
"The only thing is if my Achilles don't last, then I will be on holiday if we don't go through," Henry said. "I'm sure guys wouldn't care if I can walk or not after that. That's just the way it is."