<
>

Revs eye revenge against D.C. United

5/22/2014

For the second straight week, the New England Revolution (6-3-2, 20 points) will get another crack at an adversary that handed them an early-season loss when they take on D.C. United (5-3-3, 18 points) at Gillette Stadium on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m ET.

On April 5, the Revolution dropped a disappointing 2-0 loss to United, who used a 43rd-minute own goal from Jose Goncalves to pull ahead. They put it out of reach in the 93rd minute on Chris Rolfe's debut goal for D.C.

To their credit, the Revolution quickly licked their wounds following that initial encounter with D.C. Since the final whistle chirped thrice at RFK Stadium, Jay Heaps' side has run up a six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1), and has won its last four by a combined score of 14-4.

Meanwhile, D.C. has also enjoyed a run of recent success. With a 2-0 win over the Dynamo on Wednesday, United, who finished at the bottom of the table in 2013, have gone 5-1-2 in their last eight.

Here are a few notes surrounding the Revolution as they approach Saturday's clash:

• On Tuesday, U.S. Soccer announced two possible dates and locations for the Revolution's fourth-round U.S. Open Cup game. The Revolution will face the winner of the Richmond Kickers (USL-PRO) and N.Y. Greek Atlas (USASA) third-round match on May 28. Should the Kickers advance, the Revolution will face the Kickers at Richmond City Stadium in Richmond, Va., on June 18. In the event that Greek Atlas pulls off the upset, they will face the Revolution on June 11 at Stevenson Field in Providence, R.I.

• With MLS All-Star voting right around the corner, the Revolution could very well see one of their own at this year's midsummer exhibition. The most likely candidate? Midfielder Lee Nguyen, who has won the praises of teammates, coaches and opponents alike, leads the team with five goals in 10 games, and has become a vital component of the Revolution's offensive resurgence in recent weeks. The last time the Revolution sent a representative to the All-Star Game came in 2011, when Shalrie Joseph and Kevin Alston were both named to the 2011 All-Star squad that faced Manchester United.

• In the wake of the Revolution's second straight five-goal explosion at PPL Park, midfielder Diego Fagundez is especially anxious to get back on the pitch. "I wish we can play tomorrow, but our bodies need rest," he said. "It's going to be a big game (vs. D.C.) and we don't want to lose on our home field."

• One development worth watching going into Saturday's match is the health of goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, who missed Saturday's game in Philadelphia with a concussion he suffered during Thursday's training. Backup Brad Knighton filled in for Shuttleworth, and did well to show why the preseason goalkeeper battle went down to the wire. However, with Shuttleworth back in training on Tuesday, it looks like he may return to his spot between the sticks on Saturday.

• While plenty of praise has been heaped on Nguyen, Fagundez, Teal Bunbury and Patrick Mullins in recent weeks, the unsung hero of the first quarter of the season could very well be central midfielder Daigo Kobayashi. The Japanese International has not only played in all 11 games this season, he's also registered three assists, tying him with Bunbury for the team lead. On Wednesday, coach Jay Heaps spoke to RevolutionSoccer.net about Kobayashi's qualities. "Daigo reads the game so well. His first touch is one of the best in the league and his game awareness is world class. You can see he's been in big games. He knows how to settle a game down, he knows how to win balls back and he knows how to pressure, so he's been an excellent addition to our team."