Preview: Revs head south to visit D.C. United as part of MLS’ Rivalry Week
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – One of Major League Soccer’s oldest rivalries will be renewed on Saturday night when the New England Revolution visits a completely revamped D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
Both myTV38 (WSBK, Boston) and myRITV (Providence) will televise the game live beginning at 7 p.m., while Comcast SportsNet will broadcast a special re-air at 11 p.m. Radio listeners can catch the action live on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s HD2 station.
Current Form: Dramatic victory in San Jose gives Revs boost; United remains winless
Lee Nguyen’s stoppage-time stunner earned the Revs (1-2-1, 4 pts.) their first victory of the season in dramatic fashion last weekend, lifting the visitors to a 2-1 win over the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium. Nguyen’s goal was also significant in that it was the first scored by a Revolution player this season; the club had originally gotten off the mark with a Victor Bernardez own goal late in the first half.
“A lot of talk was how we hadn’t scored a goal yet, but that’s just kind of noise that we ignore,” said Chris Tierney. “We know that we’ve got good players and a good system that is going to eventually yield goals, and it did so this past weekend. We’re confident that if we keep working hard and doing the stuff that the staff is telling us to do, that we’re going to score goals and win games.”
While the Revs managed to claim their first victory last weekend, D.C. United (0-2-1, 1 pt.) had to settle for its first point of the campaign after conceding late in a 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire. The result extended United’s club record winless run to 15 games – dating back to August of last season – and Tierney acknowledged that the Revs are well aware of the factor that could play on Saturday night.
“It puts the pressure on them, which I think can be a good thing for us and a bad thing for us,” he said. “They’re going to come out very motivated. They’re probably going to throw a lot of numbers forward. But if we’re smart with the way that we game plan and we manage the game, there’s going to be opportunities for us to take three points. It can be a good and a bad thing, but hopefully it’ll work out in our favor.”
Past Meetings: Revs aiming to continue recent run of success against United
A pair of Eastern Conference originals, New England and D.C. will meet for the 63rd time in the regular season on Saturday night. Throughout the years it’s been tough to separate the sides as the Revs are 25-28-9 all-time against their rivals from the Nation’s Capital.
Last year the pendulum swung in the Revolution’s favor, however, as Jay Heaps guided the Revs to a 2-0-1 record in three meetings with Ben Olsen’s side. That included a come-from-behind, 2-1 victory at RFK Stadium, where Dimitry Imbongo and Diego Fagundez scored second-half goals to lift New England.
That result also continued a recent run of success for the Revs in Washington, D.C., where they’ve gone 3-2-1 in six visits since the start of the 2009 season.
Injury Report: Rowe still sidelined by hamstring strain; United without Pontius and Silva
Playmaking midfielder Kelyn Rowe continues to make progress as he recovers from the left hamstring strain suffered late in the home opener against Vancouver Whitecaps FC, but the injury is expected to keep him out for a second straight game. Rowe is joined on the injury report by Donnie Smith (L foot contusion), also listed as out.
Defender Kevin Alston, meanwhile, has been removed from the injury report and appears ready to return from the hamstring strain he suffered in the first half of the season opener.
United will have to do without two of its most potent attacking weapons on Saturday night as both Chris Pontius and Luis Silva have been ruled out. Pontius continues to recover from offseason hamstring surgery, while Silva limped off in the first half of last weekend’s draw with a left ankle injury.
Final Thoughts: Strong mentality pushes Revs forward as calendar flips to April
“It’s all about keeping the same shape, the same motivation, day-by-day,” captain Jose Goncalves said of the Revolution’s improved defensive form after conceding just two goals in the past three games. “We know that we still have a lot of improvements to do, but the team is growing and this is part of the process. I think with the same attitude we went into the game against San Jose, if we keep that in the next few games, then we are definitely going to take a lot of points.”