Preview: DC look to keep afloat without DeRo as Revs visit
D.C. UNITED vs NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
RFK MEMORIAL STADIUM, Washington, D.C.
September 15, 2012 (WEEK 28, MLS Game #266)
7:30 p.m. ET (CSN-NE)
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
- 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 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
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
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
• 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.
D.C. United saw their winless streak extended to three games last time out, dropping a 1-0 decision to Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. United dropped back into sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 41 points from 27 games.
• Before the game was four minutes old, the match was suspended for 1 hour, 24 minutes due to lightning strikes nearby.
• The game's lone goal came three minutes after the second-half restart. Ned Grabavoy played a nifty backheel to Paulo Junior on the left side of the area. His cross took a deflection and looped into the air in front of goal, where it was met by an on-rushing Will Johnson just ahead of United ëkeeper Bill Hamid.
• United head coach Ben Olsen made one change to the team that settled for a a 2-2 result with the New York Red Bulls at RFK Stadium. Emiliano Dudar came into the back four for Andy Najar.
• D.C. UNITED (4-4-2): Bill Hamid - Brandon McDonald (Lewis Neal 83), Dejan Jakovic, Emiliano Dudar, Chris Korb - Chris Pontius, Marcelo Saragosa (Maicon Santos 81), Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon - Dwayne De Rosario, Lionard Pajoy.
• United lost for a sixth consecutive game on the road, and have not gained a point on their travels since a 1-0 win at Philadelphia on June 16.
• "We talked all week about having to change our mentality on the road and the way we go about things in order to have success; I thought we did a lot of that. It showed," said United head coach Ben Olsen. "The guys put in a hell of an effort but the final stuff wasn't there. If we continue to play this way on the road, we will start to pick up some points."
• Since a four-game winning streak May 26-June 16, United have not put together back-to-back wins. Their three games without a victory matches their longest winless run of the season, since going 0-2-1 in the first three games of the season.
• "The team played extremely well. We were buzzing about creating chances. Not sure how we didn't walk out of here with a win, but it was just a great effort from all those guys on the field," said goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
• Lionard Pajoy started his fifth consecutive match since arriving from Philadelphia, playing the full 90 minutes for a third game in a row.
• After missing the last five games entirely, striker Maicon Santos was able to come on as a substitute for the final nine minutes.
• "I'm very glad we picked up Pajoy," Olsen said. "He's done a great job and I've been amazed at his stamina throughout this period. I think he brings the work we're looking for up there. Now, Maicon brings another threat that we can use in September when we have a bunch of games and we're going to need him. He's fresh and I think he's excited to get back out there and play. But he's also been out for a lot, so there's rust and there's a fitness issue that we need to work on."
• Following five consecutive starts — two as a fullback — Andy Najar did not figure in the RSL match. "We've got to stay together as a unit. What we've been doing on the field has been good, but we've got to take it 90 minutes," said defender Brandon McDonald, who shifted to right back.
• For the first time since the season-opening three-game winless run, United have fallen out of the top five in the Eastern Conference as they look to reach the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in four seasons.
• "I don't mind chasing," Olsen said. "We're right there. We're right where we thought we'd probably be at the beginning of the season. Now it's an important stretch to put up or shut up." Added Chris Pontius: "All you ask at this time is that you're in the playoff race and that you control your own destiny and we have both of those in our hand."
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The New England Revolution put a stop to their winless streak after a club-record 10 games, defeating the Columbus Crew 2-0 at Gillette Stadium last Wednesday evening. The Revolution are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference with 28 points from 28 games.
• The Revolution opened the scoring nine minutes after the second-half restart. Diego Fagundez hit the near post in the wake of Flo Lechner's throw-in, but Imbongo timed his run well to sweep home the loose ball on the edge of the goal area after Fagundez scrambled the rebound free.
• The lead was doubled when Crew defender Chad Marshall headed into his own net 14 minutes later. A long hoof forward from Matt Reis and a headed flick from Chris Tierney put the Crew under pressure, and Marshall lofted his attempted clearance from the top of the box over goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum and into the net.
• Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made three changes to the team that played to a scoreless draw with Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium. Kelyn Rowe and Ryan Guy came into the midfield in place of Fernando Cardenas and Benny Feilhaber, and Dimitry Imbongo started up top for Jerry Bengtson.
• NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION (4-4-2): Matt Reis - Florian Lechner, Stephen McCarthy, Darrius Barnes, Kevin Alston - Kelyn Rowe (Fernando Cardenas 90), Clyde Simms, Ryan Guy, Lee Nguyen - Diego Fagundez (Chris Tierney 73), Dimitry Imbongo (Blake Brettschneider 79).
• The win for the Revolution was their first since July 8, a 2-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls. The Revs went 0-7-3 over their club-record winless run.
• "It was nice to end this [winless] streak to be honest with you. Just a tough road, but I think the guys came out tonight and played really well. Showed a lot of heart," said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. "Had a lot of guys getting opportunities tonight and I thought a lot of them did well to earn more time."
• "It is a monkey off our back. It was up to nine or 10 winless and that was definitely weighing us down. We know we're a better team than that and we're capable of being much higher up on the table and picking up more points than we have thus far. It feels good to prove yourself against a good side in Columbus," said fullback Chris Tierney.
• After conceding nine goals in their previous three games, the Revolution have now posted back-to-back shutouts, the first time since June 2-16 they've recorded consecutive clean sheets.
• "All of us were happy because I think we worked hard the past couple of weeks," right back Flo Lechner said. "Every time when we take a step forward, we try to get to the next step, get the victory and get the three points. We started last Saturday when we got the tie and kept we the zero. Now we've got the three points at home."
• Said Heaps: I think (Matt) Reis really, the last two games, has shown some excellent heart coming out on plays, and making that one or two key saves keeping the game in our grasp. Against Philly he was excellent and again (vs. Columbus)."
• With Jerry Bengtson on international duty with Honduras, Dimitry Imbongo made his first start since Aug. 4 — and scored his first goal with the club.
• "I thought Imbongo was excellent. He worked hard. He battled Chad Marshall, who is arguably one of the best center backs in the league and the best player in the air. And I thought Dimitry absolutely met him challenge for challenge, and step for step, and it was a really good game for Imbongo," said Heaps.
• Diego Fagundez made starts in back-to-back games for the first time this season and contributed his first assist of the season.
• "Diego played very well. A lot of what we've asked him to do is pick up his game defensively and work. And he was all over the field doing that tonight. He created the goal and was a handful all game," said Heaps.
• Said Fagundez: "I think me and Dimitry both came onto the field thinking that we needed to do something. Both of our main forwards are out — Jerry (Bengtson) who's out with Honduras and Saer (Sene) who picked up an injury — so me and Dimitry got together and both said we need to do something right now and that this was our game to help out the team."
• After four games out of the lineup, Darrius Barnes made his second consecutive start, partnering Stephen McCarthy in central defense.
• I think (Stephen McCarthy and Darrius Barnes) read the game well together. I think McCarthy is playing with a lot of confidence right now. He making the right reads, he's stepping up and unfortunately had a goal called back," said Heaps. "; And I think Darrius has been waiting for his chance. He's stepped up and done really well."