FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When New England Revolution coach Steve Nicol perused the results from last weekend, he took notice of D.C. United's 3-1 victory over Columbus.
The comprehensive win and the manner of United's performance – including a pair of second-half goals from Charlie Davies – ensures that Ben Olsen's side will enter Gillette Stadium with a significant reserve of self-belief, according to Nicol (4:30 pm ET, Direct Kick, MatchDay Live).
“When you get a good result right off the bat like that, everybody's confidence is not only soaring, but it's sky high,” Nicol told MLSsoccer.com on Thursday.
While the Revs may not quite reach those lofty levels of conviction quite yet, they do enter their home opener on a positive note after securing a 1-1 draw in Los Angeles against the LA Galaxy last Sunday. The encouraging start to the season has bolstered the Revolution ahead of this tricky test against United.
“I think [our confidence is] definitely on the upswing,” Revolution midfielder Chris Tierney said. “We got a decent result out there. We had a little bit of luck, but sometimes, you need that in this game. We're feeling good going into the weekend and we're excited to be at home in front of our fans. We're ready to put on a show.”
Several boosts on the personnel front should help the Revs in their quest to entertain their fans and notch a first victory on the campaign.
Sainey Nyassi will likely feature in the squad after dispelling initial fears that he would miss the match due to Gambia's friendly against Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday. The 22-year-old midfielder likely would have joined Kenny Mansally on international duty, but he was left out of the squad entirely for precautionary reasons after his recent bout with malaria. Mansally is slated to depart the Boston area on Saturday and will miss out entirely.
[inline_node:317363]In addition to the boost regarding Nyassi's availability, Kevin Alston (at right, hamstring) and Didier Domi (above, swelling in his knee) will feature in Nicol's squad after missing out on the trip to Southern California.
“It's positive on multiple fronts,” Alston said. “I think it helps boost confidence on trying to get comfortable playing again. It may give me an opportunity – I don't know what the coach's decision will be – but I'll be available and we'll see how it goes.”
With Alston and Domi likely to start in defense, Nicol will have more options as he tinkers with his side to adjust to the absence of influential midfielder Marko Perovic. The Serbian schemer departed Sunday's draw with the Galaxy during the first half after aggravating a left hamstring strain and will miss out against United.
Perovic's absence will free up a spot on the left flank if Nicol chooses to stick with the 4-5-1 approach he deployed against LA. Tierney could push into midfield if Domi assumes the left back position, though Nyassi could also come into contention if Nicol prefers a more attacking option. Ilija Stolica will also press for a recall after watching the Galaxy draw from the substitutes' bench.
The chosen starting XI must draw on their experience against the Galaxy to snuff out United's confidence in order to seal all three points, according to Nicol.
“They're coming in here desperate to play and get back on the field to keep doing well,” Nicol said. “Our job is to quash that. Hopefully, we'll do it well."