Foxborough, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Gillette Stadium is set to host crucial showdown on Saturday as the New England Revolution play host to the Columbus Crew in a contest with massive playoff implications.
It is a must-win for both sides as they come into the affair outside of the playoff picture. Columbus has amassed 41 points to sit five points back of a postseason spot, meaning that the club must win its final two matches, and hope for other results to go its way, in order to qualify.
The Crew's season looked dead and buried long ago, but the appointment of Brian Bliss to the head coaching duties has seen the team go on a 4-2-0 run in his first six games in charge to climb back into the postseason race.
Some wind was taken from Columbus' sails with a 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City last time out, but that result has in no way diminished the club's playoff aspirations for the season.
"We know we need help somewhere along the line, but we've got to help ourselves," Bliss said. "If we get six points, I'm not even sure that does it. I don't know. We have to play like we're still in it and go at it. If we're looking at the standings and there's still a mathematical chance, there's no reason why you should throw in the towel."
Columbus will face New England in both of its remaining matches, which adds to the urgency of the situation given that the Revs also harbor hopes of clinching a postseason berth.
New England enters the contest on a four-game unbeaten run, most recently taking an impressive 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact.
A win over the Crew on Saturday would place the Revs as high as third place in the Eastern Conference, but at the very least, it would keep the team in contention for another week.
"It's a must-win game," Kelyn Rowe told the club's official website. "If we lose, we've got a worse chance of being in the playoffs. We obviously want to be there, so like that fight you saw the past two games, we're going to fight no matter what's going on and no matter what's happening. We're going forward to get goals."
The Revs will host Columbus without Lee Nguyen, who serves a one-game suspension due to yellow card accumulation. They also will be without Saer Sene for the foreseeable future as the striker suffered a dislocated ankle and broken fibula against Montreal.
New England and Columbus squared off once already this season as the Revs took a 2-0 win at Crew Stadium on July 20.