FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution will close out their first three-game week of the 2017 season on Saturday night, when they’ll host old rival D.C. United at Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. as the Revs (2-3-2, 8 pts.) and United (2-3-1, 7 pts.) will meet for the only time this year in Foxborough. Brad Feldman, Paul Mariner and Naoko Funayama will have the local call on CSN New England and 98.5 The Sports Hub, while Portuguese radio listeners can tune into WMVX 1570 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Revolution Postgame Live will begin immediately after the final whistle on CSN New England, while Rob “Hardy” Poole and Shalrie Joseph will take your postgame calls on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Revs wrap up busy week with “huge game” against an Eastern foe
The Revs have taken a single point from the first two games of their three-games-in-eight-days stretch, having been stymied in an entertaining 0-0 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday night in Foxborough. It was a result that snapped the Revs’ league-best six-game home winning streak.
With a pair of road trips to Seattle and Columbus lurking the next two weekends there is a sense of urgency in Revs camp to maximize points on Saturday, particularly against another Eastern Conference opponent.
“We always talk about how we feel like we should take three points any time we play at home,” said Chris Tierney, who returned to the starting lineup against San Jose. “We didn’t our last outing, so especially against an Eastern Conference team, three points is huge at home.”
“It’s a huge game for us, for both teams,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “We just have to look to put the game on our terms when we can, and know that they’ve got the ability to score goals, as well. We have to make sure it’s a complete game, start to finish, front to back.”
Standing in the Revs’ way this weekend is a D.C. team that has rebounded from a difficult start to win two of their last three games, although their four goals scored through six matches are the fewest in Major League Soccer, and they’ve lost both of their trips away from RFK Stadium.
“They’re always really well-organized and we expect the same (on Saturday),” Tierney said of United. “Especially when we play at home in games in the last few years with them, they’ve really been difficult to break down.
“We’re going to have to make sure that when our chances do arise, that we take them, and hopefully continue to defend well against the counterattack, which I’m sure they’ll be trying to hit us on.”
Past Meetings: D.C. dominant past two years, including trio of shutouts in 2016
Saturday night’s meeting will be the 79th all-time between MLS originals New England and D.C., including regular-season, MLS Cup Playoffs and U.S. Open Cup encounters. Both sides have had their share of ups and downs throughout the years, but it’s been United who’ve been on top the past two seasons.
The Revs are winless (0-3-2) in their last five meetings with D.C. spanning 2015 and 2016, and they were shut out in all three matchups last year (two losses and one draw). That stretch includes a pair of games at Gillette Stadium, where DCU have managed draws on their last two visits.
Injury Report: Kobayashi questionable after midweek start; Watson back from suspension
For the first time in more than a month the Revs have a player listed on their injury report, as Daigo Kobayashi is questionable after picking up a leg contusion in the early stages of Wednesday night’s game.
The Revs will, however, regain the services of Je-Vaughn Watson, who served a one-game suspension in the midweek draw following his ejection from last weekend’s loss to the Chicago Fire.
D.C. will be short at least four players on Saturday night as Steve Birnbaum (concussion), Patrick Nyarko (hamstring), Rob Vincent (knee) and Eric Klenofsky (knee) have all been ruled out. Additionally, Nick DeLeon (abdominal) is questionable, and former Revolution forward Patrick Mullins (hamstring) is probable.
Final Thoughts: Despite fewer meetings per year, Heaps says rivalry with D.C. still alive
“I think there’s still some of that,” Heaps said when asked about the rivalry between New England and D.C. “You have a lot of people who still have those ties. (Current Revolution assistant coach) Tommy Soehn was the head coach there, and an assistant coach when they won their last championship. (Current D.C. head coach) Ben Olsen played for that team. Benny and I played against each other many games.
“You’ve got people who’ve been a part of all sides of those types of games. Those things don’t go away.”