The Revolution will aim for their first four-game win streak in eight seasons Saturday night at home against a United team enduring the longest winless run in franchise history.
D.C. (1-10-2) was expected to contend in 2013 after reaching the Eastern Conference final a year ago, while expectations were low for New England (5-4-4) after it finished with the third-lowest point total in MLS.
The Revolution have been buoyed by the emergence of Diego Fagundez, who has scored once in each of his last four games and leads the team with five goals. New England also bolstered its attack by acquiring Juan Agudelo from Chivas USA on May 7.
The club’s last four-game win streak was a six-game run in 2005. The Revolution have outscored their foes 9-0 in this recent surge, winning 5-0 at home over two-time defending champion Los Angeles on Sunday.
“It brings the morale up, it brings the confidence up in every single player to take chances,” Agudelo said about the scoring binge.
D.C., meanwhile, fell to 0-9-2 in its last 11 after a 2-0 loss at Chicago on Sunday. This slide surpasses an 0-6-4 winless run in 2002.
New England coach Jay Heaps insists his team won’t overlook a United team that has produced the league’s fewest goals (six) with the worst differential (minus-18).
“D.C., they’re a very good team,” Heaps said. “When I look at their players, they have excellent players. The standings don’t matter for us.”
Although their attack is floundering, United made a move to bolster their back line by acquiring defender-midfielder Alain Rochat from Vancouver on Thursday for a 2015 second-round draft pick and a conditional pick in 2016.
D.C. midfielder John Thorrington played the previous two seasons with Rochat.
“He’s a very gifted player, both with the ball and defending,” Thorrington told United’s official website. “I think if the coaches are bringing him here to help the team, then from what I know of Alain, he’ll certainly help us.”
D.C. is one of three winless teams on the road with one draw from six matches.
“I think it’s important to get guys on the same page. Guys that start to stray and think we are stagnant, and start to think negatively, we have to pull them back just to keep them on the ship, and try to right the ship,” defender James Riley said.
Midfielder Sainey Nyassi, who spent his previous six seasons with the Revolution, made his club debut with D.C. on Sunday.
United will have Bill Hamid back after the goalkeeper was unavailable last weekend since he was with the U.S. national team.
The three straight cleans sheets by New England’s Bobby Shuttleworth give him six - one shy of the MLS lead. He has never faced D.C.
“I think it’s unbelievable what our defense has done his year,” Agudelo said. “They’ve kept us in the game.”
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