It’s officially cherry blossom season in the District!
D.C. United will debut their new kits against New England Revolution at Audi Field tonight. The home team is looking for all three points to lift spirits and standing in the Eastern Conference after a loss on the road in New York City. Perhaps the new cherry blossom kits will provide a little extra boost.
Bruce Arena’s men will be coming to D.C. off a home win over Nashville SC that bumped them up to second in the Eastern conference. Despite the Black-and-Red’s home advantage, the Revs could prove to be difficult opponents. They’ve managed three clean sheets in four matches.
With numerous players injured, D.C.’s roster is certainly strained, but confidence in the squad’s ability to get the job done is high. Assistant coach Pete Shuttleworth said to the media, “that’s the message to the lads today, that the performance has been good. And we can only control the process and the elements of the performances…I think we feel we’ve got a good group of players, we feel they’re buying into everything we’re asking them to do and the style of play that we like to implement. And, you know, we have to believe we keep doing that process, and performances keep being positive, and results will take care of themselves.”
Hear more from assistant coach Pete Shuttleworth:
Key Player: Christian Benteke
Christian Benteke brings a wealth of experience and skills to D.C. United’s attack. Benteke is known for his physical presence and aerial ability, making him a dangerous threat in the box. He also possesses excellent finishing skills and is adept at creating scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates. Benteke has scored two goals in four appearances so far this season, and we certainly look forward to him playing the danger man against the Revs.
Watch Out For: Henry Kessler
Kessler will pose a challenge to Benteke, and the Black-and-Red attack as the Revs will look to stifle D.C.’s home-field advantage and add another clean sheet to the book – the Revs have recorded three clean sheets in four matches so far in 2023. The center back has been named to MLS Team of the Matchday twice now for strong defensive performances. It’s no surprise, as Kessler is a skilled defender who is strong in the air and can read the game well.
Challenges: With a strong New England defense, it is critical that the Black-and-Red’s attack be clinical in the final third. Additionally, the challenge of having so many key D.C. United players sidelined due to injury cannot be understated. Missing pieces have the potential to not only impact the team’s on-field performance but can disrupt the momentum, force adjustments in tactics and lineups, and limit depth and versatility.
Previously: While New England has won two of the last three meetings with D.C. United, the last time the teams met at Audi Field in April of 2022, the Black-and-Red took all three points.
D.C. United Availability:
Out: Brendan Hines-Ike (foot), Martin Rodriguez (knee), Andy Najar (thigh), Pedro Santos (knee), Matai Akinmboni (head), Victor Pálsson (international duty)
Questionable: Taxi Fountas (thigh), Derrick Williams (thigh)
New England Revolution Availability:
Out: Dylan Borrero (international duty), Nacho Gil (right leg), Jacob Jackson (ACL), Maciel (Achilles), Christain Makoun (international duty), Tommy McNamara (leg)
Location: Audi Field, Washington, DC
Kickoff time: 7:30 pm ET
Referee: Filip Dujic
Available streaming: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV