REVS VS. CHICAGO: 7:30 p.m. EDT on NBC Sports Network
• Saturday’s match will be the 44th MLS regular-season meeting between the two teams and the 63rd meeting overall, including MLS Cup Playoffs, U.S. Open Cup and SuperLiga meetings.
• Chicago leads the all-time regular-season series between the two teams, 19-15-9. In all meetings including outside competitions, Chicago holds a 29-23-10 edge in the series.
• The Revs are 4-11-6 in road games against Chicago, including a 1-6-2 mark at Toyota Park.
• The Revs won the 2012 three-game series, 2-1-0. The Revs won both games at Gillette Stadium, 2-0 on June 2 and 1-0 on Oct. 20. The Revs’ 2-0 victory on June 2 snapped the team’s 10-game, regular-season winless streak (0-7-3) against Chicago that dated back to October 6, 2007.
• The Revs are a combined 4-10-4 in all competitions against the Fire since the start of the 2008 season. That record includes 12 regular-season games, four playoff matches and two SuperLiga games.
• The Revs and Fire have met in 7 of the last 11 postseasons (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009). In total, the teams have met in the playoffs in eight seasons, all since 2000.
Jay Heaps was a player on the New England Revolution during their glory days of the mid-2000s. Now he's their coach, hoping to spearhead an improvement that will end the team's three-year playoff drought.
And how will that happen?
"He wants to re-shape the team in his mold," said Brad Feldman, entering his 13th season as a Revs broadcaster. "He was a player for the Revolution who played with passion in addition to skill, and last year he was trying to move the team in that direction. They didn't always respond. Sometimes when they were playing the skillful passing game, other teams stepped on them and they didn't bounce back the way he wanted them to.
'He's added more components (this season) that will play the way he wants to, which is with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder and a lot of passion."
Feldman and broadcast partner Jeff Causey, a New England goaltender from 1997-2002, discussed some of the players, and the upcoming season, with Comcast SportsNet's Kevin Walsh on CSN's "State of the Revs" special this week:
ON THE TEAM'S DEPTH
Feldman: "On every position, the Revs go 2-3 deep. But really in particular, the midfield is stacked, when you look at the guys they have, both the rookies and returning players. It's going to be thick in the midfield."
ON VETERAN ANDY DORMAN
Feldman: "He was a part of those great teams in the middle part of last decade that Jay was a player on. Andy Dorman gained experience and strength. He's beefed up, 10-15 pounds of muscle, he was in Scotland and England and he's a link to the past, that winning mentality."
ON WHAT TO EXPECT FROM RISING YOUNG STAR JERRY BENGTSON:
Feldman: "More goals. He's one of the top scorers internationally in the CONCACAF region. He scored the goal that defeated the United States national team. Now the Revs want to see [him do] what he does for Honduras for the Revs. And having a full preseason with the team . . . gives him more of a chance to do that."
ON WHAT TO EXPECT FROM LEE NGUYEN:
Causey: "He's going to be strong, right off the get-go. He came in, put a stamp on this team with some unbelievable goals, but then took it on his back as far as skill, creating opportunities; he's going to be definitely a player to watch in the midfield. "
ON WHAT TO EXPECT IN 2013:
Feldman: "They're better than last year, no question about it. Every year, the minimum is making the playoffs. They fell short last year, they were more competitive than the Revolution were in 2011. This year I think at least a No. 5 seed, although it's a strong league and a strong Eastern Conference."
Causey: "Team's going to be strong. We said it: Competition at every position. I think last year they had probably 13 guys that could start out of 11; now they've got 18, 19 deep . . . It's just a matter of how good did they get compared to how good did everybody else get."