PREVIEW – Things are changing in the capital of the US with the new manager settling in now as they now play at Gillette Stadium. Wayne Rooney has taken over at the helm of D.C. United and he has brought in a few new faces this summer. The same goes for their hosts this weekend, the New England Revolution. Their busy transfer window is made and breaks as the playoffs beckon, and the next step is against DC on Saturday night.
Are the Playoffs Out of Reach For D.C. United as they play at Gillette Stadium?
The Revolution Are Performing Better at the Back
This whole season for the New England Revolution is shrouded with defensive calamities. Having been very solid at the back, last year, as they romped to the Supporters’ Shield, this is a new-look outfit. Giving them the deserved credit though, the last three games have shown a shift in fortunes.
Some of the most lethal forwards in this league were unable to surpass the huge reach of Djordje Petrovic. Lorenzo Insigne saw a penalty of his saved by the shot-stopper whilst Cucho Hernandez was unable to find the back of the net for Columbus too. As well as these two 0-0 draws with Toronto and the Crew, New England beat Orlando last time out. They were all unlikely scorers in a 3-0 victory at Exploria Stadium.
The #NERevs have kept three straight clean sheets for the first time since 2015. Djordje Petrović has registered four shutouts in his first 10 MLS appearances. And the Revs have their first win since June 19.
— Jeff Lemieux (@jeff_lemieux) August 7, 2022
Turning attention to the visiting side D.C. United, who are at the rock-bottom of the MLS standings. Not only are they at the foot of the East but they are bringing up the rear of all 28 teams. In their last outing, Rooney’s men shared the spoils with a high-flying New York Red Bulls team. Ravel Morrison debuted for DC whilst David Ochoa and Christian Benteke are yet to feature for their new club.
Prior to that, it has been all over the place on the results front. At the beginning of July, under interim Chad Ashton, they scored five away at Orlando City before conceding seven against the Union at Subaru Park. With Rooney at the helm, there has been a win, a draw, and a loss. Chris Durkin and Taxi Fountas scored in added time to turn it around in a rematch versus Orlando.
The Revs Have Often Had the Number of D.C. United Heading into Gillette Stadium
In their last meeting, D.C. United won 3-2 at Audi Field back in April. Fountas, the star man for DC, netted a brace with the other goal coming from Michael Estrada. Adam Buksa scored at the other end but he is now plying his trade in France.
Besides this, the Revs have had the upper hand in this fixture. New England hadn’t lost before this season under the stewardship of Bruce Arena. After kicking things off with a draw, there were six consecutive victories. Buksa, Gustavo Bou, and Teal Bunbury all netted three times across this winning streak with their own goals coming next at two.
Couldn’t complete the comeback. pic.twitter.com/NZ8t5WIq3o
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) April 24, 2022
Coach Arena spoke on what he expects from D.C. United. Whenever a team has a new coach, it’s never easy to predict how they’re going to play, but they’ve been playing some version of a 4-4-3 or a 4-2-3-1.”
He then went on to highlight the key players. “They have a good attacking player in [Taxiarchis] Fountas, [Ola] Kamara has scored nine goals this year for them, Fountas has 11 for them I believe. Yeah, they have a couple of new players so it’s a difficult team to predict anything. [Ravel] Morrison’s a new player for them, a couple of new players in the attack, in the midfield, new goalkeeper in recent weeks. [Miguel] Berry in the trade from Columbus, so it’s hard to give any assessment or make a prediction on how they’re going to play.”
Those are the players who can make the difference for D.C. United, Fountas being the most likely star. Moving on to the Revolution and coach Arena spoke highly of new signing Ismael Tajouri-Shradi. “Well [he] is a good attacking player. He can take people on, he can finish. He scored a number of goals in his MLS career. We’re hopeful that’s something he can contribute to us once he gets healthy.” The player is sidelined though currently, in his own words: “I will hopefully be back in 10 days to two weeks.”
Every game is huge for both teams as they hope to make the jump above the playoff line. The Revs are in touching distance whilst D.C. United has a fair bit of ground to make up. Form favours New England but with Rooney at the helm, anything could happen!