The New England Revolution have made the time-honored trip down the interstate to the Nation's Capital to take on D.C. United Saturday night at RFK Stadium. The Revs are looking to avenge their only home loss of the season, which came at the hands of D.C., while United is looking to continue a recent streak of good form that has propelled them into second place in the Eastern Conference.
Injuries: Clyde Simms is out again, meaning he misses an opportunity to make a return to his old stomping grounds and play in front of some undoubtedly-appreciative former fans. Joining him on the "out" list are Sainey Nyassi, Zak Boggs, Florian Lechner, and Bjorn Runstrom. John Lozano, Jeremiah White, and Tim Murray are also listed as "questionable."
Interesting Storyline: Clyde Simms remains the major storyline between the two teams in this match. Clyde spent six or seven productive seasons in a United uniform, anchoring a midfield that, in the early part of his career, was nearly unmatched in the league. D.C. fans are likely disappointed to find out he won't feature Saturday night.
Blake Brettschneider, a young player who many D.C. fans were surprised to see released this past offseason, is also making his RFK return.
2011 Head-to-Head: New England swept the season series in 2011, eking out a 2-1 win in Foxboro and a 1-0 victory at RFK. That stat is especially embarrassing for United when one considers that those two victories made up 40% of the Revs' wins all year.
Keys to the Game: New England doesn't seem to hold much, if any, distinct advantage over D.C. in any particular area. Thus, being away from home, the Revs need to be extra careful to keep compact and hold their shape in midfield while looking for opportunities on the counter. D.C. is loaded with offensive firepower, but may be vulnerable on the counter if New England can successfully absorb pressure.
Defensively, the man that makes the whole offense tick for United is Dwayne De Rosario. Whomever Jay Heaps selects to fill Simms' role will have his hands full trying to mark DeRo out of the match. Given time and/or space, DeRo can rip a team apart with an incisive pass, an accurate cross, or a deadly shot. It's not all about the reigning MVP, though, because D.C. has other potent attackers in the form of Hamdi Salihi, Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius, Andy Najar, and several more besides. The Revs will have to be at their best to have any hope of containing that much talent.
Jay Heaps seems unlikely to change up the lineup that drew Houston 2-2 last week. Injuries will restrict his options, but there's a chance that Fernando Cardenas, Jose Moreno, Kelyn Rowe, or Darrius Barnes could get starts in place of guys like Ryan Guy and Blake Brettschneider.
Broadcast Information: TV: 7:30 PM EST, CSN Alternate Channels; RADIO: 7:30 PM EST, 98.5 The Sports Hub.