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Preview: D.C. United vs New England Revolution

New England seeks revenge while United seeks first place at RFK

MLS MATCHDAY 15

D.C. United vs New England Revolution

Saturday, May 26 - 7:30 PM ET
TV: Direct Kick or online via MLS Live

After dropping their first two contests of 2012, and freshfrom a scoreless draw at home against Seattle, D.C. United was in need of aspark when the club traveled to New England back in mid-April.  Tied in the 81st minute, theBlack-and-Red found their jolt via a brilliant goal from Chris Pontius.  The match ended with D.C.’s first winin New England since 2007 and sparked a run of play that has seen United take 16points from its eight subsequent contests.

In preparing his side for a rematch with the Revolution thisweek, Head Coach Ben Olsen readily-acknowledged the earlier victory’s value tohis young team.

“It was important,” Olsen said Thursday.  “Most teams I would say have betterrecords at home than they do on the road, and we’ve been in that category.  We haven’t had that many road games,and the ones we have had, it has not been as good.”

While D.C.’s road record (2-3-1) hasn’t actually been thatbad, Olsen is right in noting that it pales in comparison to theBlack-and-Red’s stellar home form. But earning a fifth straight win at RFK will be no easy task, as NewEngland will bring a much stronger lineup to Washington than the one theRevolution fielded at Gillette Stadium. Midfield stalwart Shalrie Joseph – who was suspended for the teams’ firstencounter – is back, and has a goal and an assist over his last threestarts.  Further bolstering the NewEngland midfield is U.S. International Benny Feilhaber, who was limited to asubstitute’s role back in April. 

But perhaps the biggest development for Jay Heaps’ squad hasbeen the sudden ascension of forward Saer Sene into one of Major LeagueSoccer’s hottest goalscorers.  Theformer Bayern Munich reserve has scored four times in his last four matches andat 6-foot-3 is just another example of the physical nature New England has cometo make their staple.

“They are one of the most physical teams I’ve playedagainst,” rookie Nick DeLeon said of Saturday’s opponent.  “Every time you get the ball you arealways getting hit in the back and they are throwing in that extra little shotat you.  It just brings up the fireand intensity of the game.”

With a win on Saturday, D.C. would leapfrog New York to takefirst place in the Eastern Conference. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at RFK Stadium.

» ANALYSIS: Volkswagen keys to the match

» Create and share your starting XI

REFEREE: Kevin Stott. MLS Career: 221 games; FC/gm: 25.7; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 58; pens: 45
SAR (bench): Adam Wienckowski; JAR (opposite): Jason Cullum; 4th: Kevin Terry Jr.

INJURY REPORT:

  • D.C. UNITED – OUT: MF Lance Rozeboom (L knee ACL tear); DF Robbie Russell (L hamstring strain); MF Danny Cruz (R hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: FW Chris Pontius (gluteus minimus strain); MF Nick DeLeon (L hamstring strain); GK Joe Willis (eye contusion); PROBABLE: DF Emiliano Dudar (L hamstring strain); FW Maicon Santos (L calf strain); MF Marcelo Saragosa (R soleus strain) …
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION – OUT: FW Zak Boggs (R ankle sprain); DF Flo Lechner (R foot fifth metatarsal fracture); MF Sainey Nyassi (R hamstring strain); MF Clyde Simms (L ankle tendonitis); FW Jeremiah White (concussion); PROBABLE: MF Lee Nguyen (R shoulder sprain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius, Dwayne De Rosario … NE: Chris Tierney, Benny Feilhaber

HEAD-TO-HEAD

  • ALL-TIME (57 meetings): United 26 wins (4 shootout), 82 goals … Revolution 23 wins (3 shootout), 73 goals … Ties 8
  • AT RFK (28 meetings): United 16 wins (2 shootout), 51 goals … Revolution 8 wins (1 shootout), 38 goals … Ties 4
  • FUTURE MATCH: 9/15: D.C. United vs. New England Revolution, 7:30 p.m. ET
  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. A late Chris Pontius goal gave United a 2-1 comeback victory on April 14 at Gillette Stadium.
  • The win in the first meeting snapped a five-game United league winless streak vs. New England, dating back to 2008, and was their first victory in Foxborough since 2007, also snapping a five-game winless streak there.
  • The Revs also won a U.S. Open Cup play-in match last year, a 3-2 win at RFK Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. NE: P4 W1 L3 D0 … Jay Heaps vs. DC: P1 W0 L1 D0

LAST MEETING (MLS):

  • 4/14: NE 1, DC 2 (Moreno 6 – Maicon Santos 19; Pontius 82)
  • The Revolution took the lead on six minutes. Lee Nguyen and Saër Sène combined down the left to slide the French forward into a good crossing position. Sène's tempting service left an unmarked Jose Moreno with little more to do than volley home at the near post for his first MLS goal.
  • Maicon Santos hit for the equalizer after 19 minutes. Nick De Leon floated a corner to the far side of the penalty area for De Rosario to bicycle kick toward goal. Santos reacted quickly to divert De Rosario's attempt into the net from six yards for his third goal of the campaign.
  • United then scored the winner eight minutes from the end. DeLeon did well to win a 50-50 ball inside the Revolution half and the play eventually squirted out to Pontius on the left side of the penalty area. Pontius cut inside his marker and fired home his first goal of the season.
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-3-1-2): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston (Fernando Cardenas 86), A.J. Soares, Stephen McCarthy, Chris Tierney - Ryan Guy, Clyde Simms, Lee Nguyen (Benny Feilhaber 55) - Kelyn Rowe - Jose Moreno (Bjorn Runstrom 79), Saer Sene.
  • D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Joe Willis - Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic (Chris Korb 60), Daniel Woolard - Danny Cruz, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon - Dwayne De Rosario - Maicon Santos (Chris Pontius 79), Hamdi Salihi (Josh Wolff 65).