FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A national television audience will witness the New England Revolution’s first-ever visit to Audi Field on Sunday evening when the Revs will visit longtime rival D.C. United in our nation’s capital.
FS1 – making history with an all-female broadcast team – will cover the action at 7:30 p.m. ET, while radio listeners can catch the local call with Brad Feldman and Paul Mariner on 98.5 The Sports Hub and Sirius XM FC. Portuguese radio listeners, as always, can tune into 1260 AM Nossa Radio USA.
Matt McCarthy and former Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms will handle pregame, halftime and postgame duties on 98.5 The Sports Hub, taking calls for 30 minutes after the final whistle.
Current Form: Revs determined to snap six-game skid; D.C. gaining momentum at home
It was déjà vu all over again for the Revs last weekend as they once again put together a performance that they felt should’ve produced three points, only for issues with set-piece defending to let them down in a 3-2 loss to the Philadelphia Union.
The loss was New England’s fourth in their last five games as their unbeaten run hit six (0-4-2), but head coach Brad Friedel and his players are convinced that a bit more focus will eliminate those untimely errors, and that will prove decisive as the Revs head into the critical stretch run of the 2018 season.
“We’re playing good football,” said center back Jalil Anibaba. “It’s just a matter of figuring out how to key in on the details and keep the pedal down all the way, full throttle. We need to close out games. It’s just a matter of continuing to do what we do well, but really, really paying close attention to the details.”
D.C. have been reenergized by the opening of Audi Field, going 4-1-0 in their first five matches at the venue after a brutal stretch in which they played 12 of their first 14 games on the road, going 2-7-5. They’ve won three straight at home, including twice in the past week: 3-2 over Orlando City SC and 4-1 over the Portland Timbers.
Wayne Rooney has been a difference maker since arriving in mid-July, registering three goals and three assists in his first seven MLS appearances. His arrival seems to have invigorated Luciano Acosta, as well – the diminutive midfielder has three goals and three assists in the last four games, including a hat trick this past Sunday.
“They’re playing at home and I feel like they’ve been getting good crowds, they kind of have some good momentum going, so they’re definitely going to be rejuvenated,” said Teal Bunbury. “They’re definitely going to be a team that’s going to be hungry, and they’re trying to push each and every game. We’ve got to go in there focused from the first whistle.”
Past Meetings: Revs aim to sweep season series in first-ever visit to Audi Field
Cristian Penilla scored twice – including a late winner from the penalty spot – in the Revolution’s 3-2 victory over D.C. back on June 30 at Gillette Stadium. That win snapped the Revs’ seven-game winless run in the regular-season series (0-4-3) and a string of three straight draws with D.C. in Foxborough.
Now the Revs will aim to end their hex in The District having lost on their last six trips to RFK Stadium, including a playoff defeat in 2015 and a 1-0 loss in their final visit last August.
It will be a new-look stadium this time around – the recently-opened Audi Field – and a new-look D.C. roster with Rooney, Bill Hamid and Vytas all joining in recent weeks, but Friedel isn’t expecting the club’s tactics or strategy to change much despite several new faces.
“They’ll play the exact same way as they did when they were here (at Gillette Stadium),” Friedel said. “There’s very, very little difference. They’re a good passing team. We’re a very good pressing team.”
Injury Report: Mancienne arrives ahead of weekend trip to D.C.
Center back signing Michael Mancienne officially arrived in Foxborough on Wednesday afternoon and was on the training ground with his new teammates on Thursday morning, potentially paving the way for an MLS debut on Sunday night in Washington, D.C.
Friedel and his staff will need to assess Mancienne’s fitness ahead of the weekend, as the 30-year-old defender will have additional training sessions on Friday and Saturday before the match on Sunday evening.
Final Thoughts: Anibaba says “everybody has each other’s backs” through rough spell
“I’ve always said that whenever we’re honest about our mistakes and push on forward, that’s when we can improve,” said Anibaba. “I’ve always felt that, by and large, our group has done a decent job of that throughout the course of the season.
“No win or loss ever comes down to one play or one player. Everybody knows that and everybody has each other’s backs.”