A weekend of MLS action gets started Friday night when DC United hosts the New England Revolution in a game between two of the league’s oldest teams. DC is favored with a moneyline of -114 with the Revolution at +274 and a draw listed at +271.
New England is the team in this matchup more in need of points. They enter the weekend tied with Toronto on points for the final playoff spot but well behind on goal differential, which would keep them out of the postseason if the season ended today. On the bright side, the Revs are coming on strong, winning three in a row and five of their last six games in all competitions.
Meanwhile, DC United is trying to gain some separation from the pack. They currently sit in second place in the Eastern Conference but only three points ahead of the team in sixth place. A loss and some unlucky results elsewhere could cause them to plummet in the standings. United is also in a bit of a funk, winning just twice over their last 10 games in all competitions.
Desperate for a Rebound
Despite a lack of wins recently, DC United has managed five draws in their last 10 games, so they are finding a way to get points. That being said, they are coming off a dreadful performance against FC Dallas last weekend. They were short on energy and badly outplayed, managing just one shot on target all game. To make things worse, Luciano Acosta will be unavailable for Friday’s game after receiving a red card against Dallas.
On the bright side, Paul Arriola is finally back with DC after playing a majority of the Gold Cup for the US National Team. Midfielder Zoltan Stiebler has also been cleared to return after an illness, so United will have a deeper midfield than normal, even without Acosta. The caveat is that after Arriola played so many minutes, he may only be used off the bench. That will keep the pressure on Wayne Rooney to carry the DC attack after scoring six goals in his last nine games.
Continuing the Turnaround
New England is enjoying a mid-season turnaround under Bruce Arena, who replaced Brad Friedel in May. Since the change, the Revs have three wins and three draws in their six league games. That stretch includes a 1-1 tie with DC United in a game DC dominated statically but needed a 90th-minute penalty from Rooney to avoid the loss after New England went down a man in the 56th minute.
The Revolution has come a long way since that game. Teal Bunbury has turned into a scoring machine, netting five goals in his last six appearances. Carles Gil has also come into his own in recent games, while Juan Agudelo remains a viable scoring threat.
Clean sheets have been a rarity for both of these teams lately, especially New England. The Revs have also been difficult to keep off the score sheet in recent times, so this game should bear witness to a few goals. DC may be the home team and the desperate team, but New England is the hot team and offers the better payout. Bet on the Revolution to win Friday in a small upset.