WASHINGTON — There’s little time for rest this week for D.C. United.
On the heels of an impressive scoreless draw on the road at FC Dallas, the club has a quick turnaround with a Wednesday evening clash against Eastern Conference foe the New England Revolution (7:30 pm ET, watch LIVE online).
The meeting matches two teams currently experiencing a contrast in fortunes. DC are unbeaten in league play in 10 out of their last 11 games, while the Revolution are mired in last play in the Eastern Conference and haven’t won an MLS match in nine games.
“They’re a dangerous team right now because they are at the realization if that they don’t start picking up points, that they’re going to be out of the race,” DC assistant coach Chad Ashton told MLSsoccer.com. “We kind of look at them as a wounded animal right now, especially coming off a game that they didn’t play particularly well in.”
The two teams already played twice this year — once in league play, once in a US Open Cup play-in game — with the Revolution winning 2-1 at Gillette Stadium in March, and knocking United out of the Open Cup 3-2 later in April.
And while they’ll look to avenge those two losses, United won’t overlook a team coming off a 3-0 defeat against Philadelphia on Sunday.
“I’m sure Steve [Nicol]’s been after them for a few days and has really been in their ear and they’ll come out with a lot of energy,” Ashton said. “So we have to make sure that we’re prepared and we come out the right way and essentially take the game to them.”
Adding caution for United is that the young club has played well away from RFK Stadium, but defensive lapses and poor games have limited them to a record of just 2-2-5 at home — with the last win in DC coming all the way back on May 4 against the Seattle Sounders.
Starting Wednesday, they’ll look to emulate their road mentality and stay sharp in front of the RFK faithful.
“When we’re on the road, we seem to focus a bit more,” Ashton said. “When we’re at home, we take for granted that we’re going to take the game to the other team and we take some chances that are maybe unnecessary.”
They’ll have a healthier contingent to call upon, with Josh Wolff set to return to at least the bench, after being unavailable last weekend against FC Dallas with a hamstring issue. Reserve forward Blake Brettschneider and midfielder Brandon Barklage are improving after suffering concussions in the past few weeks, while defender Dejan Jakovic is match fit.
“[Jakovic is] available. We’ll make the decision [Tuesday] on whether he’ll dress or not,” Ashton said. “If he does not play in this game he will definitely be available for the game this weekend [against Everton].”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, college and youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.