Earl Edwards Jr. assumed full-time goalkeeper duties for the New England Revolution at the most congested and crucial stretch of the season.
Edwards is slated to make his second straight MLS start and third of the season when the Revolution (12-5-7) host the New York Red Bulls (7-10-8) on Wednesday night (7:30) at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution are undefeated (9-0-3) at the Razor, the best home start in club history.
“I think it’s just getting the opportunity,” said Edwards. “I’ve been in this league a long time, so to get a real chance and get a run of games, it is something I’ve always been ready for and look forward to.”
The Red Bulls match is the second of three MLS games in eight days for the Revolution after an extended break for Leagues Cup play. The Revolution opened the stretch with an 11th hour, 1-0 loss to FC Montreal on Saturday at Stade Saputo in Montreal.
The Revolution complete the compacted slate when they host Austin FC of the Western Conference next Saturday night (7:30) at Gillette.
Edwards will likely to be the keeper of record in all three matches while interim head coach Richie Williams mix and matches his starting lineup to balance out the pitch time. Williams has been acting field manager in place of Bruce Arena since Aug 1. Arena remains on indefinite administrative leave pending an investigation by MLS for making “insensitive and inappropriate remarks.”
“It’s definitely not daunting,” said Edwards. “I think we all love the job that that we have, so playing games is always fun. It’s a little difficult for guys to get their bodies turned around in a tighter window.
“But other than that, just getting through the schedule and the MLS schedule can be difficult at times. It comes with the territory and still trying to get results.”
Edwards was bestowed his battle field promotion when the Revolution finalized the transfer of MLS All-Star goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic of Serbia to Chelsea FC of the English Premier League for a reported fee of $18 million.
The Revolution used the freed up international roster spot to sign goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, 34, of the Czech Republic through the 2024 season. The Revolution expressed their confidence in Edwards by tendering a contract extension through 2024 with an option in 2025.
“Controlling what I can and having that security is always nice,” said Edwards. “I’m happy to be with the club for at least another year and I like what we are building.”
The Revolution and the Red Bulls are MLS charter franchises that date back to the league’s first season in 1996. The Revolution are 34-31-17 all-time against the Red Bulls, which shows the Boston vs. Gotham rivalry extends to soccer. The Red Bulls won the first MLS meeting 2-1 on July 8 and beat the Revolution on penalty kicks in the opening round of Leagues Cup play.
“Everyone is continually working on their game and, whatever happens against the Red Bulls, we just want to compete, play well and at the end of the day have the three points,” said Williams. “That’s what we need to work on.”
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