New England Soccer Today

Revs Prepping for ‘Different’ DC

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

When Jay Heaps sat down to look at the video of DC United’s recent stretch of action ahead of Wednesday’s knockout match, it was clear that the team on film wasn’t quite same one the Revolution encountered four months ago.

Since the longtime rivals last met on Jun. 21, DC has undergone enough changes to make Heaps and the coaching staff burn the midnight oil getting up to speed on a short week.

“They’re definitely different,” Heaps told the media on Tuesday. “At this part of the year, we’ve evolved a little bit (and) they’ve evolved a little bit, but there are changes within the group in how they play, not just personnel, but within the way they play.”

Perhaps the most significant change was the addition of Alvaro Saborio, a veteran striker with a nose for goal. The trade for Saborio may have sent dangerous winger Luis Silva to Real Salt Lake, but it also reunited the Costa Rican international with former strike partner Fabian Espindola.

Another change: the reliance on Chris Rolfe to steer the offense. A notorious Revolution-killer, Rolfe, who’s rotated between the wing and underneath as a second striker, has made himself one of the league’s most consistent offensive players in 2015.

Tactically, United employs a standard 4-4-2 formation, though Revolution skipper Jermaine Jones noted that they play a style similar to the one the employed by the locals.

“We know that DC is the same (as us),” Revolution midfielder Jermaine Jones told the media on Tuesday. “They try to play from counter beaks, they let you play the game, and try to wait for mistakes, so we will go there and see what they give us, and of course, we’ll try to play the same way we played in New York.”

But as much as things have changed for United since their 2-1 win over the Revolution back in June, one thing that remains the same is their commitment to playing with a strong shape on the pitch.

“They’re great with their positioning,” Revolution striker Charlie Davies told the media on Tuesday. “Tactically, they’re a very sound team, and we respect them, they’ve been at the top of the table for a very long time this season.”

A six-game winless run back during summer’s waning weeks undoubtedly derailed DC in its quest clinching the conference, while Sunday’s 5-0 loss at Columbus kept them from clinching a top-2 spot. Nevertheless, Davies cautioned that United, which took four points from the Revolution during regular season play, will present a formidable challenge for him and his teammates.

“We know we’ll have our hands full,” Davies said. “But at the same time, we know what we’re capable of when we’re playing at our best.”

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