On Saturday night, the Revolution and D.C. United—two Eastern Conference mainstays—will square off at Gillette Stadium. Both clubs came flying out of the gate in April, only to have their respective runs halted by multi-goal losses last weekend. Saturday’s match represents an opportunity for both sides to get back on track.
Here are four storylines to follow ahead of the week eight matchup:
1. Will Jay Heaps shuffle his lineup for the Revolution’s third match in seven days?
After visiting the Fire last Saturday and hosting the Earthquakes on Wednesday, Heaps has decisions to make with his Starting XI. Will he give Juan Agudelo a rest? Will he stick with Cropper, who played his best match of the season against San Jose?
In all likelihood, the Revolution gaffer will only make a few small tweaks to his selections, as he did on Wednesday. Look for Teal Bunbury to earn his first start of the season, with Xavier Kouassi returning to the holding midfield spot and Kei Kamara returning to his familiar forward role. Benjamin Angoua may also earn a second-consecutive start after a strong showing vs. the ‘Quakes.
2. Will the Revolution attack find its form?
After scoring five goals against Minnesota United, stealing a road point against the Timbers and cruising past the Dynamo with a 2-0 win, it looked like the Revolution attack had overcome its early-season woes.
Fast forward two weeks, and Juan Agudelo & Co. have been shutout in two consecutive matches. on Wednesday vs. San Jose, the club possessed the ball well and effectively combined in the attack, but struggled to connect on a final pass. In the end, the Revs created far too few chances, given the amount of time they spent in the attacking third.
D.C. will head into Saturday’s match without USMNT defender Steve Birnbaum, who will likely be replaced by Kofi Opare. Can the Revs take advantage?
3. Can D.C. United get it together on the road?
Road points haven’t come easy for the Black and Red this season. The club has lost both its road outings by a combined score of 6-0, including a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of NYCFC in early March.
In 2016, Ben Olsen’s side endured a similar struggle, when the team failed to pick up a road win until its 13th match of the season. To make matters worse, D.C. has won just once in its last 11 regular season trips to Foxboro (1-6-4). Can the visitors break out of their road rut and earn a result at Gillette Stadium?
4. Which homegrown players will leave a mark?
Saturday’s matchup pits three MLS homegrown stars—Bill Hamid, Diego Fagundez and Scott Caldwell—against one another. No homegrown players have played more minutes than these three, with Hamid’s 14,739 minutes leading the way among all homegrown players. Diego Fagundez has played 10,181 and Scott Caldwell has played 9,792.
Hamid will start between the sticks for D.C., looking to keep a struggling Revolution attack out of his net for his first road shutout of 2017. Caldwell and Fagundez may have to leave their mark as second-half subs, as both players earned a start during Wednesday’s draw with San Jose.
Will one of the three homegrowns grab a headline during Saturday’s matchup?