The New England Revolution have traveled down I-95 South to take on D.C. United at RFK Stadium on Saturday night. The Revs are coming off of a creditable but still disappointing home draw with Houston in which they were undone by a late defensive lapse, and will be looking to rectify that while exacting a little revenge against United, who remain the only side to beat New England at home. United, on the other hand, are a week removed from a 3-1 smackdown of Toronto, but should be in for a sterner test in the form of a confident and hungry Revs team.
In order to take anything from this game, New England has to be mindful of defensive responsibilities. Late mistakes and goals have been this team's undoing on the road (and last week at home), and D.C. was able to capitalize on this weakness at Gillette last month when they beat the Revolution 2-1. Centerbacks Stephen McCarthy and A.J. Soares have to tighten up in the final minutes and must also be better at defending set pieces, or the Revs will be in for a long night.
United, meanwhile, is a team loaded with offensive firepower that can score from anywhere on the pitch. Hamdi Salihi and reigning league MVP Dwayne De Rosario man the front line, while a wealth of forward and midfield options roam behind them, including Chris Pontius, Branko Boskovic, Andy Najar, Maicon Santos, and plenty others. Even defenders like Brandon McDonald and Emiliano Dudar represent threats on set pieces, a glaring weakness in the New England defense. Given United's home field advantage, Saturday's match is probably going to be about weathering the storm for the Revs.
Clyde Simms will miss his triumphant return to RFK stadium as he still suffers from left ankle tendonitis. He is joined on the "out" list by Sainey Nyassi, Zak Boggs, Florian Lechner, and Bjorn Runstrom. John Lozano, Tim Murray, and Jeremiah White are "questionable."
There are few clubs in the league that the Revs have played as many times as they've faced D.C., and the all-time series record reflects that. New England has posted a 23-26-8 record against the Black and Red, but away from Foxboro they've managed to win only 8 times since 1996 for an 8-16-4 record. New England actually swept the series last year, winning 2-1 at home and 1-0 at RFK.
The match will be televised live on CSN alternate channels starting at 7:30 PM EST. The radio call will be handled by 98.5 The Sports Hub at the same time.