MLS Regular Season | Match #31
New England Revolution at D.C. United
Wednesday, October 20 | 7:30 p.m. ET
Audi Field | Washington, D.C.
Watch: TV38, myRITV
Listen: 98.5 The Sports Hub HD2 (English), WBIX 1260 Nossa Radio (Portuguese)
Revolution Pregame Live (6:45 p.m. ET)
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New England Revolution
1st in Eastern Conference (20-4-6, 66 pts.)
Last Result | 2-2 draw vs. Chicago Fire FC
The Revolution returned from the international break this past weekend with a 2-2 draw against visiting Chicago Fire FC, left frustrated by the result as the hosts conceded an 88th-minute equalizer to drop points at home for just the fourth time this season (11-1-3). Despite the draw – in which Wilfrid Kaptoum scored his first MLS goal and Gustavo Bou bagged his team-leading 14th – New England remains unbeaten in seven games (5-0-2) since the beginning of September and boasts a 13-1-3 mark in the last 17 games.
The Revs also got a favor from the Houston Dynamo, which beat Seattle Sounders FC, 2-1, on Saturday night. Seattle’s loss moves the Revolution’s magic number to clinch the Supporters’ Shield to seven points, coincidentally also the number of points the Revs would need to set a new single-season MLS points record, currently held by Los Angeles FC (72, 2019).
6th in Eastern Conference (12-12-5, 41 pts.)
Last Result | 0-0 draw vs. Nashville SC
Hernán Losada’s side has everything to play for through the final five games of the regular season, as D.C. sit right on the cusp of the playoff places in the Eastern Conference. It’s a madhouse in the East, as United (41 pts.) are just one point ahead of both New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls (40 pts.), two teams currently below the playoff line, but also just five points back of the third-place Philadelphia Union (46 pts.).
While the MLS originals have struggled away from the nation’s capital, they’ve been quite strong at Audi Field, going 10-3-1 through the course of the season, including a 4-0-1 mark in their last five home games. They’ve conceded just 11 goals in their 14 home games, and kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with Nashville on Saturday.
Revolution midfielder Tajon Buchanan
Some rotation is to be expected on Wednesday night, but one player who could play a prominent role is winger Tajon Buchanan, who should be somewhat fresh after playing just 32 minutes off the bench against Chicago following his return from international duty with Canada.
Buchanan had been red hot through the summer months but has registered just one assist in his last five MLS appearances, and he could be eager to get back on the scoresheet at Audi Field. A halftime substitute when these teams met in August, Buchanan registered a stunning goal as the Revs earned a comeback, 3-2 victory.
D.C. United midfielder Julian Gressel
There will be plenty of attention paid to MLS Golden Boot leader Ola Kamara on Wednesday night as the Norwegian striker has bagged 17 goals and five assists in just 23 appearances, but there will need to be just as much focus on D.C.’s primary playmaker, Julian Gressel.
A graduate of Providence College, Gressel is tied for third in MLS with 11 assists on the season, three shy of the career-high 14 he had while winning MLS Cup with Atlanta United in 2018. The 27-year-old has been particularly lethal lately with two goals and five assists in his last six appearances, including a three-assist game at Audi Field on September 25.
For the second straight game the Revs boast a clean bill of health, with no one listed on the player availability report as they head to D.C. Matt Turner, Tajon Buchanan, and Adam Buksa all returned from international duty to feature in this past weekend’s draw with Chicago, while Ema Boateng made his return from injury with a 22-minute appearance off the bench.
The hosts list three players as out for Wednesday night: defender Brendan Hines-Ike, midfielder Edison Flores, and forward Yordy Reyna, all three of whom have made 10-plus appearances this season. U.S. National Team midfielder Paul Arriola, meanwhile, is questionable after suffering a groin injury on international duty.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
New England Revolution sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena
“I think it's important that we realized the mistakes we made, we try to correct them, and we're ready for the next game. We're going to try to get three points in D.C. That's been their approach all year, so it's good to see that they realized that maybe we blew a couple of points on Saturday and they're ready to redeem themselves.”
New England Revolution midfielder Matt Polster
“[D.C. United] have done really well at home. We expect it to be a battle. Obviously, they're fighting for three points, and so are we, so it's going to be a very playoff-like environment and it's going to come down to individual moments or potentially just dealing with things defensively and just trying to prevent them from gaining confidence. And then imposing ourselves. We're very good in the attack and we can counter really well. We have players like Tajon [Buchanan], Carles [Gil], Gustavo [Bou], and Adam [Buksa], guys that can break out really quickly and steal goals. So, it's just maybe weathering the storm a little bit but then also breaking out in the attack.”