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A huge match in the Eastern Conference awaits at Gillette Stadium, where the New England Revolution can pull level with D.C. United with a victory, just two weeks after they came back to snatch a 2-2 draw at RFK Stadium in a vital match between the clubs. The Revolution saw a seven-game unbeaten run snapped last weekend at home in a loss to the Kansas City Wizards, while United rebounded from the late disappointment against New England for a late result of their own, coming back to grab a 2-2 draw away to the Columbus Crew.
REFEREE: Terry Vaughn. SAR (bench): George Gansner; JAR (opposite): Rick Eddy; 4th: Nik Bratsis
MLS Career: 40 games; FC/gm: 31.7; Y/gm: 4.0; R: 13; pens: 12
Games involving Revolution: P8 W4 L2 T2; FC/gm: 34.0; Y/gm: 4.4; R: 2; pens: 2
Games involving United: P6 W2 L2 T2; FC/gm: 32.8; Y/gm: 3.7; R: 2; pens: 1
INJURY REPORT: NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION - OUT: MD Clint Dempsey (broken jaw); DF Carlos Llamosa (L knee sprain); FW Joe-Max Moore (R knee sprain); GK Kyle Singer (R shoulder sprain); DOUBTFUL: GK Adin Brown (concussion); QUESTIONABLE: DF Joe Franchino (R hip strain); ... D.C. UNITED - OUT: FW Thiago Martins (L knee surgery); FW Eliseo Quintanilla (R fractured fibula); FW Santino Quaranta (adductor surgery); DF Ryan Nelsen (abdominal surgery)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
YELLOW PERIL: NE: Avery John (20 CP) ... DC: Brian Carroll (20 CP)
ALL-TIME (33 meetings): United 19 wins (4 shootout), 51 goals ... Revolution 13 wins (3 shootout), 42 goals ... 1 draw
IN WASHINGTON (16 meetings): United 11 wins (2 shootout), 33 goals ... Revolution 4 wins (1 shootout), 22 goals ... 1 draw
The Eastern Conference rivals meet for the third time in four this season, with United winning the first before a draw two weeks ago. They'll finish the season series on Oct. 9 at RFK.
On Aug. 14 at RFK Stadium, the Revolution came back to grab a 2-2 draw with United. A late Andy Dorman goal gave United and the Revolution a share of the spoils - and blunted the impact of a wonderful Jaime Moreno display.
Steve Ralston gave the visitors the lead in the 38th minute when he skipped through a couple of tackles in the area and hooked a curling shot inside the left-hand post.
But straight off the kickoff, United equalized when Moreno tapped home from close range after the Revs failed to clear a bouncing ball in the box, then after the break, Moreno gave the home side the lead on a wonderful goal, sprung by a terrific through ball from Dema Kovalenko before rounding 'keeper Matt Reis and a defender and sliding the ball home.
Yet the Revolution had one more answer, Dorman hitting home from a corner kick after a tackle landed right at his feet in the area (85) and extending their unbeaten run.
Here's Peter Nowak's team (3-4-1-2): Troy Perkins - Bryan Namoff, Ezra Hendrickson, Brandon Prideaux - Earnie Stewart, Dema Kovalenko, Ben Olsen, Joshua Gros - Freddy Adu (Brian Carroll 81) - Alecko Eskandarian (Mike Petke 69), Jaime Moreno.
Here's Steve Nicol's team (4-1-3-2): Matt Reis - Jay Heaps, Avery John, Rusty Pierce, Marshall Leonard (Richie Baker 67) - Shalrie Joseph - Steve Ralston, Jose Cancela (Andy Dorman 85), Brian Kamler (Felix Brillant 67) - Pat Noonan, Taylor Twellman
In their first meeting on May 29 at Gillette Stadium, D.C. United claimed a fortunate 1-0 victory. Revolution defender Brian Kamler turned a low cross into his own goal after just five minutes to give his former club the game's only goal as Taylor Twellman endured a rough night, missing a second-half penalty kick before being injured.
Then in the second half, Twellman saw his goal-scoring drought extended when he pushed his penalty wide though United rookie goalkeeper Troy Perkins guessed correctly with his dive, later straining a hamstring which put him out of action for six matches.
A year ago, United won two of the four meetings between the teams, the Revolution winning one with one drawn. They shared the points in a 1-1 contest on June 21 on East Capitol Street (Stoitchkov 31 - Kamler 24), before United claimed a remarkable 4-2 victory on July 27 at Gillette Stadium, scoring three goals in second-half stoppage time (Twellman 26, 31 - Quintanilla 83, 90 pen; Kovalenko 90; Eskandarian 90).
United then won dramatically at home on Aug. 9 through the only goal in added time (Kovalenko 90), before a penalty in extra time allowed the Revolution to return the favor in Foxborough on Oct. 11 (Ralston 92 pen).
Coming into last season, the Revolution had won four of the last five meetings between the two teams, but United has now claimed three of the last five encounters (with one draw). Over the first four years of the rivalry (16 meetings), the Revolution won just twice in regulation time, with three shootout victories among their five triumphs.
The losing team hasn't scored in six of the last nine meetings between the clubs.
Taylor Twellman leads the Revolution's career scoring table against United, with 8 goals, while Joe-Max Moore is next with 6 goals, 2 assists. For his career, Steve Ralston has 7 goals, 11 assists v United - but just 2 goals, 5 assists while with New England. Brian Kamler has 2 goals, 3 assists against his former club (2 goals, 2 assists while with the Revs).
Jaime Moreno leads current United players with 6 goals, 7 assists v New England - tied with Marco Etchevery (2 goals, 15 assists) on the club's all-time table against the Revs. Dema Kovalenko has 4 goals, 3 assists v New England, but just 2 goals, 1 assist while in D.C., while Ezra Hendrickson has 4 goals, 4 assists against the Revs for his career - none while with United.
Coaches record: Steve Nicol v DC: P11 W5 L4 T2 ... Peter Nowak v NE: P2 W1 L0 T1
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution saw their unbeaten run snapped at seven games, the Kansas City Wizards coming from behind to snatch a 2-1 victory at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night. The Revolution fell back into a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with the Chicago Fire, both on 23 points from 22 matches, three behind third-place D.C. United.
The Wizards snapped their three-game losing streak and rebounded from a midweek loss on the road, coming from behind to beat the Revolution 2-1 and end their seven-match unbeaten run.
Taylor Twellman got the home side off to a dream start, opportunistic as ever to score his fifth goal of the campaign, latching on to a pass that Pat Noonan seemed to lose in his feet before pounding it home from close range (11).
But before the half was the Wizards pulled level, Josh Wolff quickest to the rebound after a diving Matt Reis cut out a low cross, popping it over the New England 'keeper (39).
Then midway through the second half, Davy Arnaud finished off a well-worked sequence (66), Jack Jewsbury pulling back a rolling cross to the spot after Wolff had set him free on the right, the second-year striker coming from behind to hammer home first-time for his ninth goal of the campaign and give the Wizards the full three points.
"We made chances, but other than the chances we didn't have enough leaders out there on the field tonight,'' Revolution boss Steve Nicol said. "We look disorganized. We didn't look as though anybody was willing to die for it. We didn't use our brain. We talk about doing certain things in the game and then we completely don't do it. We lose the second goal on a little simple fundamental thing that I must have said 4,000 times. It's to roll the ball wide. To lose the second goal by driving the ball right up the middle of the field, that's annoying.''
Nicol made one change to his team from the 2-2 draw at D.C. United the weekend before, bringing in Richie Baker for Jay Heaps as he reverted back to the three-back system he had employed for much of the middle part of the season.
Here's Nicol's team (3-4-1-2): Matt Reis -Rusty Pierce, Avery John, Marshall Leonard (Andy Dorman 81) - Richie Baker (Felix Brillant 46), Steve Ralston, Shalrie Joseph, Brian Kamler (Jay Heaps 60) - Jose Cancela - Pat Noonan, Taylor Twellman
"We can't hang our heads and go on a losing streak," said Twellman. "We can win our last eight games and be conference champions like two years ago. But last year, every single player felt like we outplayed the other team and we don't feel the same this year."
Joe-Max Moore is optimistic he will return to action before the end of the season, after a surprise during a surgical procedure last week.
"I went into surgery thinking it was going to be a full reconstruction [of the right medial collateral ligament]," Moore said. "Instead, they cut a piece of the meniscus. So, in three or four weeks I should be back. Before I went in, I was questioning whether I would ever play again."
While Nicol indicated last week that captain Joe Franchino will likely be out into September, the Revolution have listed the versatile defender as questionable for this week.
A week after seeing victory snatched away with a late equalizer, D.C. United received some good fortune of their own to come back a grab a 2-2 draw at Columbus Crew on Saturday night. United remained in third place in the Eastern Conference with 26 points from 22 matches, now six behind the first place MetroStars and three ahead of the Chicago Fire and Revolution in level fourth.
The home-standing Crew still extended their unbeaten streak to a club record nine matches (matching the mark set in 2001), conceding a late penalty before sharing the spoils in a 2-2 draw with D.C. United as all four goals came from free kicks.
Alecko Eskandarian gave the visitors the lead in the 35th minute, hammering a free kick through the wall from some 22 yards and leaving Crew 'keeper Jon Busch as it whistled inside his left-hand post.
But the Crew drew level before the break, Duncan Oughton slipping behind the United defense and rising up to nod home Simon Elliott's free kick floated into the area (43). The Crew then took the lead after the interval through a powerfully-taken free kick of their own, Ross Paule ripping a drive from 25 yards that sailed over the wall and past United 'keeper Troy Perkins (54).
Yet United pegged back the Crew - some consolation perhaps for the late equalizer they allowed last weekend to the Revolution - when Dema Kovalenko's chip into the area was adjudged to have been handled by Frankie Hejduk. Jaime Moreno stepped to the spot and sent a blistering shot underneath the crossbar for the leveler.
"We fought all the way to the end and showed we have a lot of heart," Moreno said. "We proved to ourselves that we can do it and that it wasn't impossible."
United coach Peter Nowak made one change to the team that settled for a 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution the previous weekend. Brian Carroll returned to the lineup, coming into central midfield for the suspended Ben Olsen.
Here's Nowak's team (3-4-1-2): Troy Perkins - Bryan Namoff, Ezra Hendrickson (Mike Petke 71), Brandon Prideaux - Earnie Stewart (Christian Gomez 71), Brian Carroll, Dema Kovalenko, Joshua Gros - Freddy Adu - Alecko Eskandarian, Jaime Moreno.
"I'm never satisfied with one point," Nowak said, "but you have to take it. We pushed until the end and we wanted to win this game."
New signing Christian Gomez made his MLS debut, moving into the attacking midfield role behind the front two that had been occupied by Freddy Adu, the 15-year-old moving to the right flank.
"He got more space. It was very good for Christian, too, because he found his space, he held the ball really well, he switched the [point of attack] very well," Nowak said. "We said after the game that Christian brought something new to us and he made a difference. For Freddy, he was very dangerous 40 or 50 yards from the goal instead of 60 or 70, and he didn't have to waste his energy and time."
That will mean an interesting team selection decision for Nowak, who now has his entire midfield group healthy and available. "You really have to respect how they've played lately, but you still have to see the whole picture and what has happened the last six, seven, eight months," Nowak said. "Every positive thing, every negative thing you have to combine together and then decide what we're going to do."