Here we go again.
With a 1-0 loss on Sunday in Philadelphia, DC United ended a busy stretch of three games in nine days that also included a tie with Sporting Kansas City and a win over Orlando City. Now United starts a busy period again beginning with Saturday’s game at New England.
This time the Black and Red is set to play three games in eight days including a mid-week trip to Portland before returning home May 23rd to host Philadelphia. There is a cliché about taking one game at a time and United has no trouble focusing on the Revolution with first place in the Eastern Conference on the line.
DC United and Western Conference leaders FC Dallas remain MLS leaders on points per game with 21 points from 11 matches. After a 4-2 setback Wednesday in Kansas City, the Revolution has played one more match than United and sits two points back in the standings.
Both the Revolution and United are trying to get back to collecting points. In the loss to Philadelphia United’s eight-game unbeaten run came to an end. The Revolution had its nine-game unbeaten run stopped in Kansas City.
- Dealing with injuries. United started the season with Markus Halsti and Luis Silva sidelined by injuries. Halsti, the Finnish international signed by United this past winter, made his MLS début Sunday in Philadelphia after recovering from a knee injury suffered in preseason. Through 80 minutes in the center of the midfield Halsti with steel on defense and precise passes showed his quality against Philadelphia and United has another strong option in the middle. United’s attack is the question. Unfortunately in that game Silva, who missed the first month of the season with a hamstring injury, was forced to an early exit by another hamstring injury and is out 2-3 weeks. Silva joins Fabian Espindola (knee injury) and Nick De Leon (hamstring injury) in United’s athletic training room. From Argentina forward/midfielder Facundo Coria was signed this week, but he will not be ready to play until his international transfer certificate and work visa is complete. United is not rattled and believers it has the depth Chris Rolfe has been the team’s constant going forward whether he plays up top or on the flank. Michael Farfan has offered bright moments on offense and will need to continue to progress in De Leon’s absence. Finally United needs Chris Pontius and Jairo Arrieta to become even more dangerous and provide goals.
- An angry Revolution. New England is smarting from Wednesday’s road loss to Sporting Kansas City and will be eager to energize its offense in front of the home crowd. With 17 goals the Revs are right at the top in scoring in MLS and it is easy to see why. The Revs have multiple options and that’s why it was no surprise when Juan Agudelo struck first against Kansas City. What was a surprise were the four unanswered goals from Sporting. In addition to Agudelo, Charlie Davies also has four goals on the season and they are supported in midfield by Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, and Teal Bunbury.
Bottom line: United will have the dual challenge of being disciplined on defense, while creating the pressure in attack that was missing in Philadelphia to prevent New England from getting in to an offensive rhythm.