New England stretched their winless streak to seven games in Audi Field Sunday evening. The Revs lost Scott Caldwell to a second half red card and failed to create much of a threat on goal. On the positive side of the ledger, Wilfried Zahibo’s entry at halftime helped Brad Friedel’s men climb back into the match in the second half.
The big news for Revs fans was the debut of defender Michael Mancienne. Replacing Jalil Anibaba at left center back, Mancienne was fine, and that made him a significant upgrade. The Englishman was busy in the first half as DC controlled everything about the game for large periods. By creating numerical superiority in the center of the field, DC could bring Wayne Rooney into play early and run off their best player. New England had no answer, and DC was able to use long diagonals to keep the Revs off the ball once they evaded the initial wave of pressure.
New England used Fagundez as a false nine in the second half, hauling off Juan Agudelo at the break and moving Teal Bunbury wide. This allowed them to match numbers in the middle and blunt DC’s attacks. Yet New England had trouble getting anything going in attack. With Agudelo up top, they relied on Zahibo to distribute and break up plays and disconnect Rooney from the midfield. Zahibo is a good player, but that’s quite the set of duties.
Caldwell’s red card came on his seventh foul of the match, and the Revs were lucky not to be down two since Ted Unkel pardoned Juan Agudelo for a rough challenge when the winger was already on a caution. A theme throughout the match was New England’s aggression, which constantly threatened to boil over into venom. The Union should be ready for a hungry Revs side that closes the ball down quickly all over the pitch, but they must also be ready to keep their cool against a team that committed nine fouls in each half against DC United.
The Union welcome the Revs to Talen Energy Stadium on Saturday, August 25 at 7PM EST