The New England Revolution defeated the Columbus Crew with two stoppage-time goals last Saturday, and they will look to keep themselves in tight contention for a playoff spot with a victory over D.C. United this Saturday.
The Revolution currently stand at sixth place in the Eastern Conference, only two points behind the Houston Dynamo in the fifth place playoff spot. There is still plenty of time left in the season to sneak into the top five, but the Revs could use some momentum from another victory to thrust themselves into the top four before the season is finished.
Despite sitting at 10th place in the Eastern Conference, D.C. United boasts a threatening attacking group, led by 2012 MLS Rookie of the Year runner-up Nick DeLeon. The 23-year-old midfielder is quite the offensive weapon; he reigns supreme at assisting his teammates from the left wing and also has the ability to dribble past defenders from anywhere on the pitch. His runs are devious, so veteran Jose Goncalves and the stellar Revolution defense should be wary of him. The Revs back line should also be mindful of 27-year-old United midfielder Chris Pontius. Pontius is dangerous on the attack, and he was the player that destroyed the Revs with one goal and one assist when United downed the Revolution 3-1 in the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals.
While United’s attack is decent, their defense has trouble keeping opponent’s forwards at bay. They rank second-to-last in the goals against statistic, so the Revolution need to push the tempo and constantly apply pressure to United’s backline in order to open up a bombardment of scoring.
Diego Fagundez and Lee Nguyen will have to fill Juan Agudelo’s void once again, but they should be up to the challenge. Fagundez netted a goal while Nguyen assisted him last Saturday against the Crew. If Fagundez and Nguygen can be creative with the ball in D.C.’s end, the Revolution should generate a significant amount of scoring opportunities, but the Revs will get into trouble if their ball movement is slow and inefficient. Still, they should be able to edge D.C. United by at least one goal.