Harrison, NJ – Another edition of the I-95 rivalry will take place this weekend as Red Bull New York welcomes the New England Revolution to Red Bull Arena on Saturday.
The two clubs have endured their respective struggles of late. The Red Bulls kicked off their homestand with a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday, while the Revs have been held scoreless in their last four league games.
New England has not won in New Jersey since 2007, a stretch of seven away matches against the Red Bulls. The first four of those games were draws, leaving New York with three league wins at Red Bull Arena.
New York's loss to Sporting on Wednesday was the second time in three home matches that the Red Bulls have been held scoreless.
"I thought we were stepping too late to almost every play defensively, and I thought we were trying to do way too much offensively when we were on the ball," said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. "Trying to make that perfect pass every time we went, trying to slide it through two players and then it'd get picked off and we'd be right back on the defensive again.
"Second half, I thought it was a good response. We had some tired guys out there that fought until the end. We had some opportunities to go up. Overall it's an uneasy feeling for me."
While New York's misfiring has come and gone, New England's futility in front of net has been far more consistent. The Revs saw their scoreless streak extended to 388 minutes last weekend thanks to a 0-0 draw at Seattle Sounders FC.
Even though New England's offensive output leaves a lot to be desired, the club's defense has been stout. The Revs have conceded a league-best two goals through five games, earning glowing praise from head coach Jay Heaps after the draw with Seattle.
"We did a nice job defensively," said the Revs boss. "We have to continue to push forward and get chances. As the game went on, we got stronger and had more chances that were dangerous toward the end. We just have to get those earlier in the match."
The return of striker Saer Sene should help. The Frenchman was a real coup for the Revs last year until an ACL injury derailed his season. He is not at full fitness, but he adds some clinical finishing ability that could help the club snap its drought in front of goal.
"He helped us," Heaps said. "It was something we've seen in training and how he keeps it for us. It was important that he got [the minutes]. ... He's not 100 percent yet. But you can see some of the things he can do. He kept the ball for us, he made some good runs. His fitness is going to come along. His body looks good, but we just have to get his fitness up."