PREVIEW – The news broke earlier this week that DC United had parted ways with manager Hernan Losada. This comes just days before their fixture against the New England Revolution. Bruce Arena and Emmanuel Boateng will both be facing their former side at Audi Field, and the pair both spoke to the media also. New England and DC are both currently struggling when it comes to MLS play and so a fascinating proposition lies in wait.
Bruce Arena Returns to a Former Stomping Ground of His
Neither Side is Hardly Thriving Right Now…
Hernan Losada had somewhat revolutionized DC United following the departure of long-time head coach, Ben Olsen, but the Argentine is now out of the door too. Many have said that Losada wasn’t given enough time or backing during his time in the capital of the United States. Regardless though, the club enters a new era and their first game comes against the Revolution. Bruce Arena said the following about the departing DC man:
“I know the coach worked really hard to try to get D.C. United moved up the ladder in terms of where they stand in the Eastern Conference, and he worked really hard. So, I wish him the very best.”
In his final game in charge, Ola Kamara was the man of the moment for better or worse. The Norwegian forward netted a first-half brace to give his side a strong advantage. He was booked in the celebration of his first goal as he removed his shirt in a heartfelt tribute. Then, just on the brink of the break, he saw a second yellow after fouling Sebastian Driussi. This was the beginning of DC’s undoing as three late goals turned the match on its head and saw Austin snatch all three points.
With the recent firings of Losada and Almeyda, I'm starting to think the high intensity, fitness driven, Bielsa-inspired style of manager might not be a slam dunk hire in MLS. Heinze another example. Friedel, same vein. #NERevs
— Andy From Revs Nation (@AndyRevsNation) April 21, 2022
Whilst DC faced yet another defeat, Bruce Arena guided the Revolution to a win that snaps their winless streak. Adam Buksa’s early header, his first goal of the season in MLS, along with a fortunate Matt Polster strike saw New England past Charlotte. Not only was this a good win but it allowed the Revs to gain payback on the newcomers who bested them last month. Prior to this 2-1 win at Gillette Stadium, Bruce Arena and co had lost five in all competitions (four in the league).
Bruce Arena has had DC’s Number in Recent Years!
The curse of the ‘new manager-bounce’ may well be on the mind of Bruce Arena and his coaching staff. Coach Arena said the following on battling with the unknown: “I think it leaves us without a scouting report. Who knows what the new coach [Chad Ashton] will do, what kind of formation he’ll play, the players he’ll use, so that’s an unknown. So, all concentration has to be on our team.”
Drip too hard 😮💨 pic.twitter.com/KfRAJdobzd
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) April 20, 2022
Since taking over at the helm of the Revolution, Bruce Arena has faced DC United eight times. In that period, the team won six and drew two, the combined score-line being 18-10. Despite this incredulous record, midfielder Emmanuel Boateng warned against complacency and his message was one of focus.
“I’m very much looking forward to it [facing his old side]… With their coach gone, I can see they will be all fired up for this game to try and get results and with whatever is going on there to try and reverse their fate early in the season.”
Which Individuals can Make the Difference?
As previously mentioned, DC United frontman Ola Kamara will miss this one due to suspension. Boateng spoke on the benefit his absence will have to the Revolution.
“No, it’s great for us. I know Ola [Kamara] very well, I played with him in LA and in D.C. United as well for a year. So, it’s good not to have him there. It’s a little bit of an advantage for us, but they have some good players too.”
With Kamara missing, Nigel Robertha, Michael Estrada and Edison Flores are amongst those expected to step up in the attacking third. DC has found goals hard to come by, seven goals in six games for the side bottom in the East to be precise. Four of which have been scored by Kamara with Estrada netting twice and Russell Canouse being responsible for the final one.
Pretty team play & @OlaKamara buries the opener for DC.
1-0 to the hosts in the District. pic.twitter.com/iOgbt42leV
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 17, 2022
On the flip side, a lot of the issues for Bruce Arena have come at the other end of the field. Matt Turner, Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler and Jon Bell have all been absent at some point this term, along with attacking duo Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou. Zeroing in on Kessler and coach Arena provided an update on his status:
“He’s been out of training. So, hopefully, he’ll be ready to go come Saturday. We don’t know what our starting lineup is yet, but Henry will be available on Saturday.”
It was great for Bruce Arena and the Revs to get back to winning ways last time out against Charlotte. They will look to continue this against DC United who themselves are struggling, but no one knows what sort of threat they will pose following the dismissal of Hernan Losada. Will Arena lead his team to victory in their familiar territory?
The game between these two teams will take place at Audi Field next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET. It will be shown live on MLS Live on DAZN, NBCSWA, dcunited.com, TV38, and MyRITV & CoziTV.