DC United vs. New England Revolution | MLS Match Preview

D.C. UNITED vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
RFK MEMORIAL STADIUM, Washington, D.C.
April 5, 2014 (WEEK 5, MLS Game #40)
7 p.m. ET (TV38)

One of the longest rivalries in Major League Soccer will kick off on Saturday evening when D.C. United play host to the New England Revolution at RFK Stadium. United are looking to end an historically long winless run, extended following a late 2-2 home draw with the Chicago Fire last week. The Revolution are coming off their first win of the new season, scoring for the first time on the year in a 2-1 victory at the San Jose Earthquakes.

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REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. AR1 (bench): Greg Barkey; AR2 (opposite): Richard Gamache; 4th: Daniel Fitzgerald
MLS Career: 105 games; FC/gm: 25.1; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 35; pens: 27

SUSPENDED: none
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (62 meetings): United 28 wins (4 shootout), 89 goals … Revolution 25 wins (3 shootout), 80 goals … Ties 9
AT RFK STADIUM (31 meetings): United 18 wins (2 shootout), 57 goals … Revolution 1 wins (3 shootout), 43 goals … Ties 4
RETURN MATCHES: 5/24: New England Revolution vs. D.C. United, 7:30 p.m. ET

LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/8: NE 0, DC 0
7/27: DC 1, NE 2 (Silva 8 – Imbongo 54; Fagundez 63)
9/21: NE 2, DC 1 (Fagundez 58; Nguyen 83 – own goal 11)

  • The Revolution won the last two meetings between the clubs a year ago, snapping a four-game winless streak vs. United.
  • The Revolution won 2-1 at RFK Stadium last July 27, having now come away with a victory in the nation’s capital three of the last four seasons.
  • The teams also met in a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal last year, United getting goals from Dwayne De Rosario, Lionard Pajoy and Chris Pontius for a 3-1 win on June 26.
  • Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. NE: P9 W3 L5 D1 … Jay Heaps vs. DC: P6 W2 L3 D1

D.C. UNITED
D.C. United recorded their first point of the 2014 season but still saw their lengthy winless streak extended, the Chicago Fire coming back for a late 2-2 draw on Saturday afternoon at RFK Stadium. United are in a tie for ninth place in the Eastern Conference with one point from three games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Fire took the lead against the run of play in the 27th minute. Harry Shipp struck a well-placed corner kick toward the far post into the path of Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, who was left unmarked and made no mistake with his header.
  • But United found the equalizer eight minutes later. From a free kick just outside the box, Nick DeLeon rolled a deft touch back toward Fabian Espindola, and his low, pacey strike past the wall leveled the match.
  • United took the lead in the 73rd minute, once again from a restart. Bobby Boswell found himself on the end of an Espindola corner kick, but his header was cleared from the goal line, His second attempt from the rebound struck the near post, and the ball fell directly into the path of Perry Kitchen, who slammed it into the roof of the net from close range.
  • But Chicago equalized less than 10 minutes later. Second-half substitute Patrick Nyarko collected the ball on the right flank, nutmegged a defender and centered into the path of an onrushing Quincy Amarikwa, who hammered it home from on the penalty spot.
  • United head coach Ben Olsen made one change to the team that fell 1-0 to Toronto FC at BMO Field. Lewis Neal came into the side in place of Davy Arnaud.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Bill Hamid - Sean Franklin, Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell, Cristian Fernandez - Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Lewis Neal (Jared Jeffrey 63) - Luis Silva (Davy Arnaud 38) - Fabian Espindola (Conor Doyle 81), Eddie Johnson.

TEAM NEWS

  • United saw their winless streak extended to 15 games with the late draw, now tied for the second-longest winless run in league history. The all-time record is 18 games, set by Real Salt Lake from Aug. 10, 2005-May 6, 2006.
  • “It’s still a step forward.” United head coach Ben Olsen said. “In this process that we knew was going to take some time, this was another step forward. All of the things we’ve worked on in the past couple of weeks, we’ve gotten better at. If we had just a bit more class in the final third, we could’ve won that game.”
  • United were able to put an end to a 214-minute goalless streak to start the season when Fabian Espindola scored the first goal of the year.
  • United were forced into a change before halftime when playmaking midfielder Luis Silva suffered an ankle injury. The injury reportedly could put Silva out for up to a month.
  • “I thought Fabi trusted his teammates more than he did last game playing and moved well. I thought Eddie [Johnson] was a threat all night long up top. I thought Perry [Kitchen] was fantastic and I thought Davy Arnaud, in particular, gave us a real bite and a real energy in the amount of second balls and breaks he started,” said Olsen. “You know, still stuff to work on with our backs, we should win games that we score two goals in.”
  • Both United goals came from set pieces, the Espindola from a free kick and Perry Kitchen’s second-half goal following a corner.
  • “It’s getting better. We created a ton of chances, more today than we have in the past two games. It’s just about putting those chances away, but I think we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” said midfielder Nick DeLeon. “We should’ve had two more goals, but unfortunately we didn’t. I think we’re moving in the right direction.”
  • Perry Kitchen scored the third goal of his MLS career, his first since April 21 of last year when he netted vs. Philadelphia.
  • “It’s a work in progress. I think every game has gotten better for us. I think if you look back at the Toronto game, that was a step up from Columbus and this game’s definitely a step up from Toronto, so we just have to keep building on it and working forward,” Kitchen said.
  • On Wednesday, United acquired striker Chris Rolfe from the Chicago Fire in exchange for allocation money. “Chris brings great technical ability as well as national team and European experience to our club,” said D.C. United general manager Dave Kasper. “He plays with a high soccer IQ and will give us more options in our attack.”

NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution recorded their first victory of the new season, getting a late winner for a 2-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday evening at Buck Shaw Stadium. The Revolution are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with four points from four games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Revolution were handed the lead on 35 minutes with their first goal of the season when San Jose defender Victor Bernardez knocked the ball into the Quakes’ net while trying to make a last-ditch clearance, after fellow defender Jordan Stewart had first pushed the ball past goalkeeper Jon Busch when he came off the line.
  • But the Earthquakes pulled even in the 69th minute, when Chris Wondolowski collected a deflected cross from Cordell Cato and cut a tightly angled shot across the face of goal from four yards, tucking it neatly inside the far post.
  • There were more late dramatics for San Jose – but this time from the visitors. Lee Nguyen raced onto a long pass down the left wing from Scott Caldwell, cut inside a defender Clarence Goodson before beating Busch from 14 yards out for the game-winner.
  • Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made one change to the team that reached a scoreless draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC at Gillette Stadium. Daigo Kobayashi came into the midfield in place of Kelyn Rowe.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Bobby Shuttleworth - Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares, Jose Goncalves, Chris Tierney - Andy Dorman - Diego Fagundez (Darrius Barnes 90), Daigo Kobayashi (Scott Caldwell 70), Lee Nguyen, Saer Sene (Charlie Davies 62) - Teal Bunbury.

TEAM NEWS

  • It took more than 360 minutes, but a Revolution player finally scored a goal when Lee Nguyen hit for the stoppage-time game-winner. The Revolution’s opening goal had come through an own goal.
  • “Knowing that we just basically went across country and got three points was huge. The team fought really hard and now it is time to go back home and rest, get our legs back underneath us and get our minds right again,” said Nguyen. “Getting this on-the-road win will allow us to have confidence on the road [this] week.”
  • The own goal ended the Revolution’s season-opening goalless drought at 305 minutes, the longest stretch without a goal in MLS this season. The scoreless streak was the fifth-longest in club history, and the longest to open a season.
  • “I’m happy with the performances that we have had; that is all that I am concerned about right now. We have four points and we are going to build on it and move forward,” said defender A.J. Soares. “We are confident but we were confident last week and the week before. Nothing has changed. We are used to winning now. We are going to move forward and get more points.”
  • The Revolution kept an unchanged back line for the first time this season, and allowed a goal for the first time in 159 minutes before conceding the second-half equalizer.
  • “Jose is our captain and we needed him, big-time,” Nguyen said. “With him back there, and with the same back four as last year, the chemistry is there. Our main thing is to keep the back four on defense strong, which they had been all last seen. You see that it’s starting to get strong again with the shutout against Vancouver and another strong showing against San Jose.”
  • There was a tactical shift late in the match, where Nguyen was left as a playmaking midfielder with two holding midfielders behind. “We pivoted the triangle to create a little more space for Lee up top,” said Heaps. “I think it worked well.”
  • Charlie Davies also made his season debut, coming on for the final half-hour as he and Teal Bunbury formed the strike pair.
  • “I think Charlie (Davies) and Teal (Bunbury) have good chemistry. They are pretty close. For them to be on the field together, it showed that they both have ideas,” Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. “Confidence wise, both of them have really been chomping at the bit to get goals and I think they will get them as they go.”