Revolution-D.C. United Preview
Both the New England Revolution and D.C. United should have plenty to build on from their respective openers of the MLS is Back Tournament.
These two rivals meet in a key Group C contest on Friday night outside Orlando, Fla.
Avenging a defeat from its season opener, New England (1-1-1) beat Montreal 1-0 last Thursday in its first tournament match at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. Gustavo Bou's goal in the 56th minute stood up as the Revolution earned their first win of this crazy campaign, and more importantly, got off to a strong start in this World Cup-style event.
"The guys did a great job for 90 minutes," keeper Matt Turner told the Revolution's official website. "We're pleased with three points, and we'll build from here."
The victory was of vital importance for the Revs, who along with Montreal, D.C. and 2019 MLS Cup runner-up Toronto FC make up perhaps the most competitive group in the tournament. Plus, these group matches count toward the regular-season standings.
"Of course, it's really important to win the first game," New England defender Alexander Buttner said. "We have to focus on the second game and we also have to win the second game. Let's focus and take the points."
The challenge, though, would seem greater Friday. New England is mired in a 1-6-5 stretch against D.C. United (1-1-1), which is 2-0-1 in the last three meetings between the clubs.
United, though, might have more sense of urgency after playing Toronto to a 2-2 draw on Monday. Of course, D.C. also should have a great deal of confidence after stunning TFC with late goals to erase a 2-0 deficit.
Federico Higuain pulled D.C. within a goal on 84 minutes before Frederic Brillant leveled the match shortly into stoppage time. Brillant has scored two of United's five goals this season.
It was a true moral victory for United, whose match was quite heated and resulted in a post-game scuffle between the sides.
"I'm extremely proud of the way our team dug in and found a point," D.C. manager Ben Olsen told MLS' official website. "Now, we've got to get better. We have to grow and get the soccer part better and find out who our best XI is. And, that's on me and our players to play at the level they can. ... When it comes to our mentality, that can't be questioned right now."
D.C. announced this week that an unnamed player who initially tested positive for the coronavirus recently has since shown two negative tests. According to the club, he has been cleared to return to the team.
New England, meanwhile, announced this week that veteran forward Teal Bunbury has signed a multi-year contract extension. He has one of the Revs' three goals this season, and two in his last four matches versus D.C.
Updated July 15, 2020