Since earning a 3-2 win over D.C. United at Gillette Stadium on June 30, not much has gone right for the New England Revolution. In contrast, D.C. has seen its season turn around, and will look to keep the momentum going when the two sides meet in the return fixture on Sunday.
D.C. United (6-9-6, 24 points) is unbeaten in its last four games, and 4-2-2 overall since the loss to New England. Seven of those results have come since Wayne Rooney joined the side, and the star forward has lived up to the hype with three goals and three assists in his first month in Major League Soccer.
The other factor in D.C. United’s resurgence is that the team has finally been able to play at home. D.C. played mostly played away games over the first four-plus months of the season while waiting for construction to finish on Audi Field. The club has quickly made its new stadium into a fortress, posting a 4-1 record that includes two wins within the last week.
“It’s nice being able to play at home, trying to recover quick,” D.C. midfielder Russell Canouse said. “You stay in rhythm when you have games like this, one after another, so that’s the positive. Having the fans behind us and the home advantage, being able to keep the ball, gives us confidence.”
It won’t make for an inviting atmosphere for the Revolution (7-8-8, 29 points), who have just one win in 10 road games this season. Success on any pitch has recently been hard to come by for New England, which is winless (0-4-2) since that June 30 win over D.C. United.
The Revolution’s slump has been marked by late concessions and poor defending on setpieces — minor lapses that have quickly ruined otherwise solid performances.
“Though the run of play we’re doing a really good job,” forward Teal Bunbury said. “It’s the small details, which should be the easiest to kind of correct, we still haven’t.”
New England could receive some extra support on the back line in the form of recently-signed defender Michael Mancienne. The veteran center back began training with the Revolution this week and could be available for selection against D.C. United.
—Field Level Media