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Preview: D.C. United vs New England Revolution

Revs hope to play spoiler as Black-and-Red embark on final playoff push

MLS MATCHDAY 28
D.C. United vs New England Revolution
Saturday, September 15 - 7:30 PM ET
Watch: MLS DirectKick, MLS Live

On the heels of one of the most difficult weeks of the 2012 campaign, D.C. United looks to move past the loss of captain Dwayne De Rosario when the club faces the New England Revolution at RFK this weekend.  The first of just seven matches left on the Black-and-Red’s schedule, Saturday’s showdown gives Ben Olsen’s side a chance to both develop a new DeRo-less identity and pick up three critical points in a playoff chase that seems destined to go down the wire.
 
In the Revolution, United would seemingly have the ideal opponent against which to start the regular season’s home stretch.  Before beating Columbus earlier this month New England had gone ten straight matches without a win, but the victory against the Crew proved Jay Heaps’ side is already comfortable playing the role of postseason spoiler.
 
“The truth is they have had a rough stretch,” Andy Najar said of New England.  “But all teams that go through something like that are hungry to get points.  And maybe even hungrier to take points from you and keep you out of the playoffs.  We expect that type of attitude and effort from them.”
 
While De Rosario’s absence looms large over D.C.’s lineup, New England will be without their most effective attacking player as well.  Forward Saer Sene – who still tops the Revolution scoring chart with 11 goals – was lost for the season to a torn ACL last month.  Despite the loss, mid-summer addition Jerry Bengston is poised to relieve some – if not all – of New England’s offensive issues. The Honduran striker is red-hot, fresh off scoring in back-to-back World Cup qualifiers earlier this month.
 
Saturday could also bring Juan Toja’s debut for the visitors.  The former MLS all-star joined New England this week after a two-year stint with Greek club Aris.
 
“He’s a little bit of a ways away, but you see some of his brilliance in training,” Heaps told revolutionsoccer.net.  “We’re really excited to see his progression.  He got here Monday.  He worked hard for two days.  Day by day he’s getting better and better and you can see it.”
 
Adding to the already heightened tension is the likely inclusion of former D.C. midfielder Clyde Simms.  Simms – who missed New England’s earlier trip to RFK with an ankle injury - told the local press this week that he maintains close contact with some of his ex-teammates.
 
Those relationships will be put firmly on hold come the weekend.
 
“You are friends off the field but enemies on the field,” said Perry Kitchen.  “When you are between the lines, it doesn’t really matter if you are friends or not.”
 
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM ET on Saturday night at RFK Stadium. Tickets are still available: PURCHASE ONLINE

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D.C. United face a massive match against an old rival when they take on the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at RFK Stadium. Entering the week, United found themselves in sixth place — one spot out of a postseason berth — following a 1-0 loss at Real Salt Lake two weeks ago. The Revolution put an end to their club-record 10-game winless run in a victory against Columbus last weekend, but could be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss vs. United, or a draw depending upon other results.

REFEREE: Fotis Bazakos. AR1 (bench): Eric Boria; AR2 (opposite): Adam Wienckowski; 4th: John McCloskey
MLS Career: 8 games; FC/gm: 23.5; Y/gm: 1.6; R: 0; pens: 2

INJURY REPORT:

  • D.C. UNITED — OUT: MF Lance Rozeboom (L knee ACL tear); DF Daniel Woolard (concussion-like symptoms); MF Stephen King (inguinal hernia repair); FW Josh Wolff (lower back disc herniation)
  • NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION — OUT: FW Saer Sene (L knee ACL tear); QUESTIONABLE: MF Blair Gavin (L disc irritation); MF Sainey Nyassi (R adductor strain)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: none

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: DC: Dwayne De Rosario
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Emiliano Dudar, Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius, Andy Najar, Dejan Jakovic, Lionard Pajoy, Bill Hamid ; NE: Kevin Alston, Benny Feilhaber, Lee Nguyen, Chris Tierney, A.J. Soares

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (58 meetings): United 27 wins (4 shootout), 85 goals ; Revolution 23 wins (3 shootout), 75 goals ; Ties 8

AT RFK (29 meetings): United 17 wins (2 shootout), 54 goals ; Revolution 8 wins (1 shootout), 40 goals ; Ties 4

2012 (MLS):

4/14: NE 1, DC 2 (Moreno 6 — Maicon Santos 19; Pontius 82)
5/26: DC 3, NE 2 (McDonald 15; Jakovic 46+; Santos 61 — Sene 48; Soares 50)
• The teams are meeting for the third time this season, and United have won the first two. A late Chris Pontius goal propelled D.C. to a 2-1 come-from-behind win April 14 at Gillette Stadium, then Maicon Santos capped a second-half comeback as United claimed a 3-2 win May 26 at RFK 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.
• Coaches record: Ben Olsen vs. NE: P5 W2 L3 D0 ; Jay Heaps vs. DC: P2 W0 L2 D0

LAST MEETING

• United went ahead in the 15th minute through a header from center back Brandon McDonald, who rose highest to flick Branko Boskovic's long-range free kick up and over goalkeeper Matt Reis.
• On the stroke of halftime United added a second, as United's second center back, Dejan Jakovic, poked home a rebound from a scramble following a corner kick.
• Immediately after the break, however, the Revolution sprung to life, led by hard-charging forward Saer Sene. First, in the 48th minute, Benny Feilhaber unleashed a long shot that United 'keeper Bill Hamid parried away. Sene was in the right place to calmly side-foot the rebound into the lower corner.
• The Revs then snatched the equalizer in the 50th minute, when center back A.J Soares beat his marker to the near post on a corner kick and glanced a header into the far side netting.
• But Maicon Santos hit for the winner in the 61st minute, moments after he came on. After playing the ball wide to Dwayne De Rosario on the left, Santos ran into open space for a perfectly weighted return ball and one-timed the ball into the lower corner.
• D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Bill Hamid - Chris Korb, Brandon McDonald, Dejan Jakovic, Daniel Woolard - Andy Najar, Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon (Lewis Neal 68) - Branko Boskovic (Maicon Santos 57) - Dwayne De Rosario, Hamdi Salihi (Josh Wolff 80).
• NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-4-2): Matt Reis - Kevin Alston, A.J. Soares, Stephen McCarthy, Chris Tierney - Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph, Ryan Guy (Fernando Cardenas 28), Lee Nguyen (Kelyn Rowe 65) - Blake Brettschneider (Jose Moreno 69), Saer Sene.