New England Revolution vs. DC United | MLS Match Preview
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION vs D.C. UNITED
GILLETTE STADIUM, Foxborough, Mass.
May 24, 2014 (WEEK 12, MLS Game #108)
7:30 p.m. ET (CSN-NE; CSN-MA)
It's a top-of-the-table clash in the Eastern Conference when the rampaging New England Revolution play host to D.C. United on Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution have scored 5 goals in back-to-back games, last a 5-3 win against Philadelphia, and are now on a four-game winning run. United extended their undefeated run to three games and moved just two points behind New England in the division at midweek, with a 2-0 home win vs. Houston.
REFEREE: Juan Guzman. AR1 (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; AR2 (opposite): Felisha Mariscal; 4th: Silviu Petrescu
MLS Career: 41 games; FC/gm: 25.4; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 13; pens: 10
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NE: Andy Dorman, A.J. Soares … DC: Davy Arnaud, Perry Kitchen, Lewis Neal
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: NE: Jerry Bengtson (HON)
ALL-TIME (63 meetings): Revolution 25 wins (3 shootout), 80 goals United 29 wins (4 shootout), 91 goals Ties 9
AT NEW ENGLAND (31 meetings): Revolution 16 wins (2 shootout), 37 goals United 10 wins (2 shootout), 32 goals Ties 5
- The teams are meeting for the second time this season. An own goal and a late tally from Chris Rolfe gave United a 2-0 win, April 5 at RFK Stadium.
- The United win snapped a two-game Revolution winning streak in the all-time series, which snapped a four-game winless streak vs. United.
- Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. NE: P10 W4 L5 D1 … Jay Heaps vs. DC: P7 W2 L4 D1
LAST MEETING (MLS)
4/5: DC 2, NE 0 (own goal 43; Rolfe 95+)
- United took the lead in the 43rd minute when Revolution defender Jose Goncalves knocked a Cristian Hernandez cross past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth into the back of the net.
- United then put the game out of reach in second-half stoppage time. Fabian Espindola sent a 40-yard cross over a stretched Revolution backline and the pass found substitute Chris Rolfe in stride, and he made no mistake, striking a powerful first-time shot at Shuttleworth, who couldn't quite hang on to the attempt.
- D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Andrew Dykstra - Sean Franklin, Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell, Cristian Fernandez - Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Lewis Neal (Chris Rolfe 63) - Eddie Johnson (Conor Doyle 87), Fabian Espindola.
- NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Bobby Shuttleworth - Andrew Farrell, A.J. Soares, Jose Goncalves, Chris Tierney - Andy Dorman - Saer Sene (Charlie Davies 60), Daigo Kobayashi (Steve Neumann 84), Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez - Teal Bunbury.
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution stretched their undefeated run to six games with an historic win, strolling to a 5-3 victory against Philadelphia Union on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park. The Revolution now lead the Eastern Conference with 20 points from 11 games.
- The Revolution opened up the scoring in the 13th minute when defender A.J. Soares headed in a low, whipped free kick near the corner flag from Chris Tierney. It was 2-0 just another 13 minutes later when Diego Fagundez got in behind the Union's defense on a through-ball from Teal Bunbury and slotted home.
- Union pulled a goal in the 36th minute when Vincent Nogueira hit an absolute rocket on a bouncing ball from Danny Cruz, driving it into the top of the net.
- Just four minutes after the halftime break, it was 3-1 to New England when Lee Nguyen slicing through the Union defense in the box and beat goalkeeper Zac MacMath to the near post. Then it was 4-1 in the 57th minute when Tierney blasted home a free kick from just outside of the box after a foul from Austin Berry.
- Rookie Patrick Mullins then made 5-1 for the Revolution, finishing off a pretty one-two with Fagundez at the top of the area.
- Union cut the deficit again in the 76th minute when Sheanon Williams pounced on a loose ball from a cleared corner kick and made it 5-2. Then after going down a man when Cristian Maidana was sent off in the 82nd minute, the Union made it 5-3 in stoppage time when Sebastien Le Toux converted a penalty kick.
- Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made one change to the team that stormed to a 5-0 win against Seattle Sounders FC at Gillette Stadium. Brad Knighton came in between the posts in place of Bobby Shuttleworth.
- NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-1-4-1): Brad Knighton - Darrius Barnes, A.J. Soares, Andrew Farrell, Chris Tierney - Andy Dorman (Steve Neumann 75) - Teal Bunbury, Daigo Kobayashi (Scott Caldwell 59), Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez (Kelyn Rowe 69) - Patrick Mullins.
- The Revolution became the third team in MLS history and the first since 2001 to score five goals in back-to-back games. The LA Galaxy did it in 1998, Miami Fusion FC were the last.
- "I think what I expected [this season] was a balanced attack and we were going to get goals from a lot of different ways," said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. "I think you saw that. ... I think we're breaking well with good balance, with numbers forward. We're setting each other up. It's really coming down to some individual play as well."
- The Revolution have won four games on the trot, their longest winning streak since the 2005 season, and are undefeated in their last six.
- Five different players scored in the Union match; eight different players have scored for the Revolution over their 6-match undefeated run (the Revs have 17 goals in that time).
- "I think we're moving the ball well and we're making good passes, breaking a little bit of pressure. We have good fluidity and I think whether it's Diego (Fagundez) cutting inside or Teal (Bunbury) cutting inside, with the help of (Patrick) Mullins mulling it up, it's creating a lot of movement. Add in our outside backs Chris Tierney and Darrius Barnes we get fluidity," said Heaps.
- Patrick Mullins made his third consecutive start as the lone striker in the Revolution scheme and scored a goal for the third consecutive match.
- "He's very comfortable with his back to the goal, he's very comfortable with possession," Heaps said. "We felt that we were losing that a little bit, and that's why we made the move to put him inside.
- Said Mullins: "It was a great high for me going into that first game and getting the start. It followed with some tough times where I wasn't seeing as much of the field. I think it really tested me to make sure I brought my work ethic every day."
- Chris Tierney scored a goal directly from a free kick and set up a second with a free kick service - -the first two goals scored this season by the Revolution from set pieces. Of his seven career goals, three have been scored directly from free kicks.
- "Whenever you can nick goals on set pieces, it's very important," Tierney said. "It's obviously something that we work on a lot. Credit to A.J. [Soares] - what a great run and finish. Yeah, it's important for us to score on set pieces. It gives us a chance to steal goals and steal points."
- Said Heaps: "Chris really stepped up huge. It's something that we always work on it, but there are times when things aren't going well, teams are defending well. [Saturday] was a little different getting a couple of set-piece goals. Those always lift you when you need a couple of goals."
- Brad Knighton made his season debut in goal, after Bobby Shuttleworth was unavailable after he suffered a concussion in training during the week.
- "I feel bad for Bobby, it's unfortunate, but you have to be ready for when your name is called like I said and try and help this team win and make saves," said Knighton. "We were fortunate enough to come here and get our first win. We're just trying to keep this train rolling and maybe people will start believing in us."
D.C. United extended their overall undefeated to three games and their RFK Stadium unbeaten run as well, knocking off the Houston Dynamo 2-0 on Wednesday evening in the nation's capital. United are in second place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points from 11 games.
- United opened the scoring in the 29th minute. Fabian Espindola shield a defender away on the right flank and headed upfield, before playing a cross-field ball to Chris Rolfe at the top of the box. Rolfe skipped past Houston defender David Horst after a series of cutbacks before slotting home past an outstretched Tally Hall.
- The lead was doubled in the 64th minute as United's strike pair again teamed. Espindola ran onto a well-played ball from Rolfe out of the United half, before using a stepover to elude a defender in the left side of the box. His left-footed strike skimmed just to the left of Hall and into the back of the net.
- United head coach Ben Olsen made one change to the team that came back for a 1-1 draw with the Montreal Impact at RFK Stadium. Lewis Neal came back into the side for the suspended Eddie Johnson.
- D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Jeff Parke, Bobby Boswell, Cristian Fernandez - Nick DeLeon, Perry Kitchen, Davy Arnaud, Lewis Neal - Fabian Espindola (Luis Silva 90), Chris Rolfe (Conor Doyle 80).
- United stretched their current unbeaten run to three games, and have lost just once in the last nine matches after opening the campaign with back-to-back losses.
- United extended their undefeated streak at RFK Stadium to six games (4-0-2) since opening the season with a 3-0 home loss to Columbus, and have back-to-back home games ahead following the trip to New England.
- "For the most part, we have added seven new starters and the guys that stayed around are very good soccer players and competitors. They are experienced, you know," said United head coach Ben Olsen. "I don't have to rev this crew up as much again they have been doing this along time, so they know how to manage themselves and how to get up for games."
- With Eddie Johnson suspended following a decision by the MLS Disciplinary Committee, Chris Rolfe moved forward to play as an out-and-out striker alongside Fabian Espindola and scored a goal and added an assist.
- "That's actually his normal position, so it's certainly not a genius move by the coach. That is where he has played and he knows what to do up there, obviously," said Olsen. "But again, him and Fabi worked pretty well together and Rolfe has a great ability to fill in the holes and play with guys with different attributes, whether its in Eddie whether it's in Fabi, he really knows what the game needs and where to go, so he has been a big pickup."
- Said Rolfe: "I played with [Cuauhtemoc] Blanco for a number of years in Chicago and he was very similar [to Espindola]. He liked to drift and roam, he was a very technical player, great vision, just like Fabi. I think through those years that's helping me now play off of Fabi a little bit and make that work."
- Over the last five matches Rolfe has two goals and three assists; it was the eighth time in his MLS career he's recorded at least one goal and one assist in the same game, but the first time since his return to the league in 2012.
- "Over the course of my career of my 23 years that I've played the game most of that time has been playing in that position, although my professional career is probably been a little bit tilted more towards an outside midfielder," Rolfe said. "I think with either position, I've learned to enjoy them both and make them one and the same."
- Fabian Espindola also scored a goal and added an assist, the second time since coming to United he's had at least one goal and one assist in the same game. Espindola has a goal or an assist in seven of his last nine games, and now has five goals and five assists for the season.
- "I was happy that I got a chance to play a little higher," said Espindola. "I think in a way Eddie and I are similar like that, we like to play a bit higher. Rolfe is a very technical player, highly skilled, so I think we worked well together."
- Added Rolfe: "We were trying to exploit the space in front of the center backs and I think we found that space pretty well. Along the same lines, we knew that if we made the right runs space would open up out wide. I think we did pretty well with that, so you got to give the coaches a lot of credit 'cause they had another great scouting report that got us the win."
- Goalkeeper Bill Hamid was credited with his second shutout in the last three matches, the fourth of the season for United. Andrew Dykstra was in the goal for back-to-back shutouts April 5-12.
- "Every week some guys are in and some guys are out, but the product keeps getting, I think, better. We're still growing and we're still learning and we are learning each other's tendencies," said defender Bobby Boswell. "We got a deep team, and I've been saying that all the time. It's times like this where you get tested."