GAITHERSBURG, Md. – A spot in the semifinal round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will be on the line Wednesday night when the New England Revolution visits longtime rival D.C. United at Maryland SoccerPlex.
The quarterfinal showdown will kick off at 7 p.m., with a live stream available on revolutionsoccer.net.
Current Form: Both sides downed MLS rivals to reach the quarterfinal round
The Revs have rolled through their first two Open Cup matches, scoring nine goals en route to a pair of big wins over the Rochester Rhinos (USL PRO) and New York Red Bulls. Kelyn Rowe has been the offensive catalyst for the Revolution, registering four goals and one assist to continue his blistering pace in the competition.
Coming off their third and final bye weekend of the season, the Revs haven’t played since June 15, when they saw their five-game league unbeaten run come to an end in a wild 4-3 loss to Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The players were given this past weekend off to recharge ahead of a busy stretch, including two games this week.
“We wanted to make sure the guys got at least one or two days to get a mental break and be back here with a stretch of games coming up,” said head coach Jay Heaps.
United’s road to the quarterfinal started with a dramatic penalty shootout victory over the Richmond Kickers (USL PRO) in the competition’s third round, but a Dwayne De Rosario hat trick helped D.C. ease to a more comfortable 3-1 win over the Philadelphia Union in the fourth round.
In league play, United snapped a club-record 13-game winless run this past weekend with a gritty 1-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes, raising the team’s record to 2-11-3 on the season.
Past Meetings: Clubs played to a 0-0 draw less than three weeks ago in Foxborough
Wednesday night’s meeting will be the second between New England and D.C. in a 19-day span after the clubs played to a 0-0 draw in a regular-season showdown on June 8 at Gillette Stadium. The draw helped the Revs snap a three-game losing streak against D.C. after dropping all three meetings in 2012.
This will be the fourth Open Cup meeting between the clubs, who last met in the play-in round back in 2011 when the Revs claimed a 3-2 win at Maryland SoccerPlex. D.C.’s only win in the series came in the 2008 semifinal round, when a 3-1 win over New England sent United into the Open Cup final.
Injury Report: Heaps says Revs’ lineup will be “more aggressive” after bye weekend
Depth has been critical for the Revs through their first two Open Cup matches and that will continue to be the case this week with a pair of games in a four-day span. But after not playing for 11 days, the Revs are as fresh as they’ve been in months, giving Heaps the option to push some of his first-choice starters through a busy stretch.
“After having the weekend off, we can be a little bit more staggered in our lineup, we can be a little bit more aggressive in our lineup for the two games,” said Heaps. “But our focus being on Wednesday, I feel like we’re well rested so we can be aggressive with the lineup.”
The break also served to help the Revs get healthy. Clyde Simms has returned to full training after missing four games with a sprained knee, and only Kalifa Cisse (L knee sprain) and Juan Toja (lower back tightness) – both questionable – are carrying minor knocks at the present time.
It’s also notable that right back Andrew Farrell will be suspended for Saturday’s visit to Chivas USA following his red card in the loss to Vancouver, meaning the top overall SuperDraft pick is likely to see significant minutes against D.C. United.
United’s latest injury report listed three players as out – Dejan Jakovic, Lewis Neal and James Riley – while six players were listed as questionable, including offensive catalysts Dwayne De Rosario (R hip flexor strain) and Chris Pontius (concussion). However, Pontius started and scored the game’s only goal against San Jose this past weekend, while De Rosario was available on the bench.
Final Thoughts: Revs call upon past experience in dealing with desperate D.C. side
“We know what struggles look like, feel like, smell like, taste like – we’ve been through them ourselves and I think we just have to dig down deep and unfortunately touch on nerves that we’ve had put against us in the past,” said Ryan Guy, referencing New England’s 10-game winless run last summer. “I think we’re ready to go. I think we’re healthier than we’ve been in a long time and we’ve got some guys with hot feet right now.”