Nelsen Expects a Battle From New England

Ryan Nelsen: "Hopefully they’ll be more worried about us than we are of them."

INTERVIEWS: Bradley | Caldwell | Henry | Defoe | De Rosario

TORONTO - With a full roster at long last and nine points in six games, Toronto FC host the New England Revolution on Saturday at BMO Field, and head coach Ryan Nelsen is expecting a battle from the visiting side.

Nelsen confirmed on Friday that Jermain Defoe will indeed play in tomorrow’s match against the Revs. Michael Bradley took part in full training on Friday and is expected to play as well. Nelsen said New England presents a tough challenge for his side in the first of a stretch of home games at BMO Field.

"Jay [Heaps] did a fantastic job with them last year," Nelsen said. "He’s kept the majority of them together, which is important in this league. They’ve got some really good, exciting young players. Even last year, we had a good little battle with them so we expect a difficult game."

Last season, the New England Revolution met Toronto FC three times, resulting in a win, draw and loss for the two teams. The only game at BMO Field, played on August 30, ended in a 1-1 draw, with Lee Nguyen standing out in the midfield. Nelsen said it’s this area of the field he’ll be watching for.

“They’ve got some lovely midfield players who are technically very good and feel comfortable when they have the ball,” Nelsen said. “But, then they feel very uncomfortable in other areas. We’ve got to look at their weaknesses and try to win the game.”

“Hopefully they’ll be more worried about us than we are of them,” he added.

“For no reason will we underestimate them and what they have,” defender Doneil Henry said of the Revs. “Coach Jay Heaps has done really well with them.”

Nelsen will be hoping to pick up a few more points before the World Cup break, when players like Julio Cesar, Bradley and possibly Defoe will depart for Brazil. Bradley says these next few games are key to having a successful year.

“All in all, you have to say we’ve had a good start but now is a good chance to put some points on the board and really establish what we’re going to be about at home,” Bradley said.

“New England is a good team,” Bradley continued. “They have some talented attacking players who can cause you trouble if you’re not organized or committed enough to close them down and making the game hard on them. Having said that, we’re confident in who we are and what we’re about. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves through these first six games and as we move into the next phase in the season, we feel ready.”