It's going to be a beautiful, sunny day in Foxboro this afternoon (high of 67°, no less) as the New England Revolution face off against bitter I-95 rivals D.C. United at Gillette Stadium. The Revs are hoping to banish the demons of a heart-breaking last-minute 1-0 loss to Dallas last week, while United will look to build on an encouraging performance in a 0-0 draw against Seattle.
Injuries: Kevin Alston (hamstring), Matt Reis (knee), and Clyde Simms (calf) are all listed as Probable for today's match, meaning they seem likely to feature. Benny Feilhaber was upgraded to Questionable yesterday with his peroneal strain, while Florian Lechner (metatarsal) and Jeremiah White (headache) are Out. Zak Boggs and Sainey Nyassi remain on the disabled list.
Suspensions: Shalrie Joseph (MLS Disciplinary Committee retroactive)
Interesting Storyline: Clyde Simms played the entirety of his MLS career (2005 - 2011) with D.C. before moving to New England in this past offseason's Re-Entry Draft. Several outlets have spoken with Simms about his United experiences and how he feels being on the other side of the ball.
2011 Head-to-Head: New England managed actually managed to sweep the season series with DC last season, winning 2-1 at Gillette in March and snapping a nine-game winless streak with a 1-0 victory at RFK. Furthermore, the Revs defeated DC in the U.S. Open Cup Qualifying bracket, prevailing 3-2 in April.
Keys to the Game: The Revs are the home team in this match, and they have to dominate play in that manner. New England's performance against Los Angeles was comprehensive and dominant, and against Dallas the Revs actually held more possession, so if the boys in blue can combine those two performances they should have no trouble with United at all. DC's defense is much improved over last season's, especially with the arrival of Emiliano Dudar, so the Revs can't afford to squander any chances they might get.
Defensively, it will be all about containing Dwayne De Rosario and the rest of DC's offensive threats, a job made all the harder by Shalrie Joseph's absence. Nick Deleon, Maicon Santos, and Danny Cruz have all performed well in the attacking third for United, and Designated Player Hamdi Salihi has yet to really get going, but his goalscoring record overseas suggests that once he breaks his duck the floodgates will open.
Shalrie Joseph's suspension makes the lineup a tad difficult to predict. With John Lozano fully healthy, he may pair A.J. Soares in defense, but Stephen McCarthy's inspired play at the position may make it difficult for Heaps to justify leaving him on the bench. Alston should replace Lechner easily enough. In midfield, if Benny Feilhaber is cleared to start, he'll likely pair Simms in the middle; otherwise, expect Kelyn Rowe to move inside with Lee Nguyen and Ryan Guy on the wings. Fernando Cardenas has a good shot at pairing Saer Sene up top, but if Jose Moreno has the fitness to start, there's a good chance he will.
Broadcast Information: TV: 4:00 PM EST, CSN; RADIO: 4:00 PM EST, 98.5 The Sports Hub