Revolution look to continue stellar defense vs. DC
Field Level Mediaon
The New England Revolution suddenly are playing solid defense.
New England has allowed an MLS-worst 31 goals but has given up just one over the past two matches. The Revolution will look to remain stingy on Saturday when they host D.C. United at Foxborough, Mass.
New England (3-8-3, 12 points) allowed a total of 18 goals during a four-game stretch prior to the improvement. The shoddy defense is a prime reason why coach Brad Friedel and general manager Mike Burns were fired earlier this month.
Bruce Arena, who coached D.C. United to two MLS Cups (1996-97), was hired as coach and sporting director but interim coach Mike Lapper will coach the team for the third straight time on Saturday.
"This is a huge, huge match for us and hopefully a turning point for our group," Lapper told reporters.
Beating D.C. United (7-4-3, 24 points) certainly would be an attention-getting result. D.C. is tied for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Union.
However, D.C. United has scored just one goal while going 0-1-1 over its past two matches.
Striker Wayne Rooney scored the lone tally in a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dynamo last Saturday and was frustrated with his club's performance.
"I think it just wasn't good enough," Rooney told reporters. "You can't make excuses. Say whatever you want to say, at the end of the day it wasn't good enough. We need to improve.
"I think individual players need to look at themselves and we need to look at ourselves as a team."
Rooney has scored a team-best seven goals while midfielder Luciano Acosta and forward Paul Arriola have three apiece.
The Revolution played the Montreal Impact to a scoreless tie last Saturday thanks to a solid showing by the defense.
The players say distractions have been at a minimum despite the front-office upheaval and the awareness that Arena will be watching things closely.
"It's been a hectic last couple of weeks," New England defender Jalil Anibaba told reporters after a mid-week practice. "But I think everybody has done a great job to stay focused on the task at hand and (make it) as seamless a transition as possible."
Midfielder Carles Gil has a team-best four goals for the Revolution.