Using Harvard University's Soldiers Field as a home venue for a third round US Open Cup game against the New York Red Bulls could backfire on the Revolution when the two teams clash on Wednesday night.
Historically speaking, the Revolution, who are 9-4 all-time in US Open Cup home games, struggle more when they don't play their home games at their natural venue. The Revolution are 5-1 in US Open Cup home games at either Gillette Stadium or the old Foxborough Stadium, but an unconvincing 4-3 when they've played their home games at either Lusitano Field in Ludlow, Mass. or New Britain Veterans Stadium in Connecticut.
The Revolution have never played at Harvard before, though choosing it as a venue for Wednesday night's game makes a victory over New York much less secure. Soldiers Field, a brand new, 2,500-seat stadium, won't provide the Revolution with the same home atmosphere and familiarity as Gillette Stadium, where the Red Bulls haven't won since 2001.
Despite this being an elimination match that could potentially lead to a cash prize and a spot in next year's CONCACAF Champions League, both teams may choose to rest some key players. Though the odds of Thierry Henry playing are low, as he has yet to play in the Open Cup and rarely makes away trips to New England.
Meanwhile, the Revolution will likely start Matt Reis in goal over Bobby Shuttleworth, who has become the regular between the pipes. The Revolution also re-called Gabe Latigue and Tyler Polak from their affiliate in Rochester, meaning the two could see significant playing time in place of regular starters.
From a non-competitive standpoint, Soldiers Field is a suitable location. Both Revolution General Manager Mike Burns and Club President Brian Bilello have cited the ability to bring the team closer to the Boston area as a reason for playing at Harvard. It's a move that the Revolution have tried to do before with supporters in Connecticut, playing games just outside Hartford.
Should the Revolution defeat the Red Bulls, they will move on to the quarterfinals, where they will travel to play either DC United or the Philadelphia Union. The Revolution could make Gillette Stadium their natural home venue by the semifinals if they make it that far, according to Burns.
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