RFK Stadium will host the first of two meetings between the Revolution (1-2-1, 4 points) and D.C. United (0-2-1, 1 point) on Saturday in a game that both clubs hope to use to extend momentum gained last weekend. Kickoff is set for 7:00pm.
While the Revolution enter the clash fresh off the heels of a thrilling 2-1 comeback victory, D.C. United grabbed a measure of success in last weekend’s 2-2 draw to the Chicago Fire.
Here are a few things to know about this weekend’s clash in the Nation’s capital:
Despite making a host offseason additions, D.C.’s 2013 struggles have lingered. After finishing rock bottom last year, D.C. became one of the most active clubs during the offseason. They added Eddie Johnson, Fabian Espindola and Davy Arnaud to resuscitate the attack, and brought Bobby Boswell and Sean Franklin to fortify the rear. The results? Back to the bottom of the conference. While their goals for and against may be identical to the Revolution’s, criticisms have already been made of Johnson’s lackadaisical play, as well as the defensive failures that kept D.C. from getting a victory last week against Chicago. It’s far too early to count them out, but their early-season form hasn’t exactly inspired confidence inside of the Beltway.
Two players the Revolution won’t have to worry about: Luis Silva and John Thorrington. They may not be certifiable Rev-killers, but Silva and Thorrington have both been thorns in the local XI’s side in recent years. Silva has scored twice in the last two years against the Revolution, while Thorrington has always performed well against the Revolution during his nine-year MLS career. Fortunately for Jay Heaps & Co., neither player will be taking the pitch on Saturday. Thorrington announced his retirement on Monday, while Silva left in the 38th minute of Saturday’s clash with an ankle knock. D.C. coach Ben Olsen told the Washington Post the following about Silva’s prognosis: “I don’t think it’s a day or two.”
Chris Tierney and Diego Fagundez will probably have their hands full. Why? Well, the D.C. United attack loves to use the right flank, with 42 percent of their offensive forays coming within that area of the pitch (Source: whoscored.com). In fact, D.C. and Colorado (42 percent) are the most right-sided clubs in MLS when it comes to the attack. This, of course, isn’t all that surprising. Fabian Espindola and Eddie Johnson both like to veer wide before cutting inside while Nick Deleon and Sean Franklin all use the right flank when pressing forward. With that in mind, Lee Nguyen will likely be asked to do more on defense this week in order to keep D.C. from continuing the flashes of attacking rhythm it found last week against Chicago.
Last week’s stat of promise: Five of the Revolution’s 11 shots were classified as “on target” by OPTA, a positive development considering the 17 shots/3 on target stat they recorded against the Whitecaps.
Early forecast: 66 degrees and sunny (Source: weather.com)