New England Soccer Today

Revs face D.C. in home opener Saturday

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A pair of once-mighty Eastern Conference foes will be hoping to continue to put a disappointing 2010 behind them when D.C. United visits Gillette Stadium to take on the New England Revolution on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The Revs and D.C., both MLS originals, will look to show their improvement over the offseason as they face each other for 55th time in the regular season.

New England native Charlie Davies returns home on Saturday when his new club D.C. United come to town. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

Adding to the excitement of the Revs home opener will be the return of Charlie Davies to New England. Davies, who was born in New Hampshire, went to high school in North Andover, MA., and attended Boston College, was a revelation in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup for the U.S. National team. His hopes of playing on the world’s biggest stage were dashed, however, only months before the Cup when a fatal car accident left him seriously injured and unable to partake in the tournament.

Davies, who is under contract with French side Sochaux, was loaned to D.C. United in the offseason and made his first team debut last weekend in D.C.’s 3-1 win over the Columbus Crew. The appearance was Davies’ first in 17 months, and the speedy striker scored twice for his new team.

D.C., a four-time MLS Cup Champion, finished dead last in 2010 while scoring an MLS record-low 21 goals. United overhauled their squad in the offseason, adding striker Josh Wolff and Joseph Ngwenya to the attack in addition to Davies, bringing Dax McCarty into the midfield, and drafting impressive rookie defender Perry Kitchen, who will miss Saturday’s game due to U.S. U-20s commitment, among other acquisitions.

After a season of disastrous offensive performances last year, D.C. head coach Ben Olsen suddenly finds himself with viable options on his roster this season and will have a tough decision to make on Saturday. Olsen started Ngwenya and Wolff at striker on Saturday, with Wolff scoring United’s first goal of the season. Davies came off the bench for Ngwenya adding two more goals for D.C. and the gaffer will need to decide whether Davies is fit to start ahead of Ngwenya this weekend.

For the home side, New England will be looking to build off a fortuitous 1-1 draw on the road against preseason MLS Cup favorites, the Los Angeles Galaxy. The Revs got off to a fantastic start, taking the lead in the third minute and held on after giving up a goal late in the first half to grab a point despite being overrun in the midfield at times during the opening period.

Last week, New England was forced into a makeshift line-up due to numerous injuries, but could be in better shape this weekend with the return of right back Kevin Alston and left back Didier Domi during the week. Offseason acquisition Ousmane Dabo, a former central midfielder at Lazio, is likely to miss out again and 2010 Revolution MVP Marko Perovic is questionable after picking up a left hamstring strain against the Galaxy.

The Revs played a defensive-minded 4-5-1 last weekend, but may opt to switch things up at home this weekend, particularly if Perovic is unavailable. Zack Schilawski started up top as the lone striker in Los Angeles, but could be paired with veteran Serbian striker Ilija Stolica if the Revs opt to play two at forward on Saturday.

New England, winners of three in a row against D.C., holds a 21-25-8 record all-time against their rival from the nation’s capital, including a 14-9-4 mark at home. The Revs came away with a 2-0 road victory against United in their second game of the season last year, while grabbing a 1-0 victory at Gillette Stadium in August.

Saturday’s match can be seen live on Comcast Sports Net New England. Those watching at home can join the live blog discussion right here with the New England Soccer Today staff throughout the match.

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