Following a draining week, D.C. United has a chance to get back to winning ways tonight, as they travel north to face the New England Revolution. The Revs are in the midst of changing over from the fired Brad Friedel to new boss Bruce Arena, but currently they’re still being led by interim head coach Mike Lapper. While the standings say United should easily beat a team that has given up 31 goals in 12 games, the fact is that Lapper’s risk-averse changes have helped New England pick up four points in their last two games, and it’s clear that the Revolution roster is enjoying life under someone other than Friedel.
There’s another reason for the Black-and-Red to give the Revs some respect: despite a largely positive record in this series, United hasn’t gone to Massachusetts and won a game since April 14, 2012. With the top spot in the East up for grabs at the moment, it’s incumbent that United pounce on a team that is still in a holding pattern.
Key player: Ulises Segura
With Paul Arriola suspended, Olsen seems sure to turn to Segura on the right wing. United can expect a solid 90 minute shift out of Segura, but it might take more than that to get the job done. With the Revs focusing on defensive solidity and being hard to score against, the Black-and-Red can expect a massed defense. Hard work is going to be important, but it’s going to take some intelligence and some craft to prevent New England from getting organized, and to break through when they do.
Location: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, MA)
Kickoff time: 7:30pm Eastern
Projected D.C. United starting 11: (4231) - Bill Hamid; Leonardo Jara, Frederic Brillant, Steven Birnbaum, Marquinhos Pedroso; Junior Moreno, Russell Canouse; Ulises Segura, Luciano Acosta, Lucas Rodriguez; Wayne Rooney
Bench: Chris Seitz, Jalen Robinson, Chris Odoi-Atsem, Chris McCann, Zoltan Stieber, Griffin Yow, Quincy Amarikwa
Olsen has 20 players to choose from, and since Steve Goff has reported that Odoi-Atsem and Yow are in the traveling squad, it’s not too hard to figure out the 18. Segura seems like the sure bet to replace the suspended Paul Arriola, and Ben Olsen did well to give most of his regular starters the night off on Wednesday. Moreno’s return will be a welcome positive, and the week between games has given United time to build up the understanding between Pedroso and the rest of the players around him.
Projected New England starting 11: (4141) - Matt Turner; Brandon Bye, Andrew Farrell, Jalil Anibaba, DeJuan Jones; Luis Caicedo; Juan Agudelo, Carles Gil, Diego Fagundez, Cristian Penilla; Teal Bunbury
With interim head coach Mike Lapper in charge for one more game, it’s hard to imagine too many major changes to the lineup for the Revs. The only possible question mark here is whether Jones or Edgar Castillo starts at left back. Castillo is the more experienced player, but last week Lapper yanked him well before halftime for the speedier Jones, who impressed. Other than that, though, look for the Revs to focus on playing very safe, low-risk soccer that features little interest in keeping the ball and plenty of interest in making it hard to carve out chances.
Referee: Dave Gantar
Available TV: None in the DMV.
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
What do we have to say about it?: Filibuster gets into what United has to do to win this one, and later this morning we’ll have something on how Arriola’s absence could impact United tonight. If yours truly has time, we’ll also have Opposition 11 for you. Wanted to get that done yesterday, but it’s been a tough week outside of soccer.
What are you drinking?: I still have some grapefruit juice, so I’m probably going with another Paloma. Check back on Sunday, which given the forecast feels like the beginning of gin and tonic season in these parts.
This is the place for all your pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion. Vamos winning at the Razor!
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