FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – An original MLS rivalry will be renewed on Saturday night when the New England Revolution visits Eastern Conference foe D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
Kickoff between the Revs (7-7-6, 27 pts.) and United (2-14-4, 10 pts.) is set for 7 p.m. Revolution fans can catch the action at the club’s official watch party at Phoenix Landing (512 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge), or tune into Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Revs in search of back-to-back road wins; United winless in four
Stoppage-time goals from captain Jose Goncalves and leading scorer Diego Fagundez lifted the Revs to a dramatic 2-0 win over the Columbus Crew last weekend at Crew Stadium, bringing a swift end to the Revolution’s first two-game losing streak of the season. Head coach Jay Heaps was particularly pleased with the way his side went about clinching the three points, battling and scrapping their way to a crucial victory.
“(Before Columbus), most of our results came when we just outplayed the other team and none really when we got beaten up or beat them up, so I thought it was a good versatile win for us,” said Heaps. “It wasn’t our best soccer by any stretch, but we scored on a set piece, we battled until the 90th minute and the game went our way.”
Since snapping a club-record 13-game winless streak with a 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on June 22, United has gone winless (0-3-1) and remains on the bottom of the MLS standings. Last weekend, D.C. notched its only goal during the current four-game winless stretch – a stunning long-distance strike from recent acquisition Luis Silva – but it proved only to be consolation in a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Fire.
Past Meetings: United holds upper hand in two previous meetings this season
Despite D.C.’s struggles this season, Ben Olsen’s side has stifled the Revs in a pair of previous meetings in 2013. New England’s only offensive shutout in the past 12 games came at the hands of United, which held the Revolution to a 0-0 draw on June 8 at Gillette Stadium. Two weeks later, D.C. dumped the Revs out of the U.S. Open Cup at the quarterfinal stage with a 3-1 win at Maryland SoccerPlex.
All told, it’s been more than two years since the Revs beat United, when they snapped a lengthy winless run with a 1-0 victory at RFK Stadium on July 20, 2011. Since then the series has been all D.C., which won all three meetings in 2012 before the scoreless draw in June.
Injury Report: Sene, McCarthy set to return for NE; De Rosario, Pontius questionable for D.C.
Both Saer Sene and Stephen McCarthy are available to return this weekend after the duo missed last Saturday’s victory in Columbus. Sene (R hip contusion) was sidelined for the entire two-game road trip through Colorado and Columbus, while McCarthy sat out the Crew match for precautionary reasons after suffering a head laceration against the Rapids.
Those injury concerns are in the past now, however, as both players returned to full training this week and have been removed from the Revolution’s injury report.
Chris Tierney remains questionable with left knee irritation – although he played the full 90 minutes last weekend in Columbus – while Juan Agudelo will miss his sixth straight game with a right knee sprain.
D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid was United’s hero in the June 8 draw at Gillette Stadium, making four saves to secure the shutout, but it’s likely Joe Willis will deputize on Saturday night with Hamid currently with the U.S. National Team during the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The home side could also be without offensive catalysts Dwayne De Rosario (R hip flexor strain) and Chris Pontius (L leg neural tension), both of whom are listed as questionable after missing last weekend’s loss to the Fire.
Final Thoughts: “Every game is almost like a playoff game for us at this point”
“We’re right in the hunt for the playoffs there and we want to move up the table, so every game that we can get three points is huge for us,” said goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. “Every game is almost like a playoff game for us at this point, so everywhere we go, we’ve got to strive to get three points and get results no matter where we are.”