He may not be on the touchline yet, but Bruce Arena’s observations of the New England Revolution continue Saturday when they host D.C. United.
Arena was brought in last week as both coach and general manager after the Revolution (3-3-8) got off to a disastrous start that led to the firing of coach Brad Friedel and general manager Mike Burns. Interim coach Mike Lapper will again be on the sidelines for New England, which has taken points in back-to-back matches for the first time this year after a scoreless draw at Montreal last weekend.
“Our number one goal was to keep a clean sheet and we did that,” goalkeeper Matt Turner told the club’s official website after the Revs posted their first shutout in five matches. “A couple half chances here and there, for us to take away the three points, but overall I think we’ll walk away with something.”
One player who undeniably caught Arena’s attention was rookie DeJuan Jones, who entered the game at left back for Edgar Castillo in the 35th minute and offered the needed pace to neutralize the Impact’s offense on the right flank.
“I was extremely proud with how he DeJuan played,” Revs striker Teal Bunbury said. “He was getting forward, making some great runs forward, and also tracking back. He was doing great positionally, so really proud of him because in training he works his tail off and in the games he’s ready to go wherever the coach is going to put him.
“He’ll give 100 percent, so I’m really pleased with him, and not only him, but also the rest of the guys.”
Arena will also be seeing part of his past in D.C. United (7-3-4), whom he guided to MLS Cup titles in the first two years of the league’s existence in 1996-97. This edition of the Black-and-Red are trying to salvage a win in the final match of three straight on the road and suffered a 2-1 loss at Houston last Saturday.
During the week, United tuned up for this match with a friendly against La Liga side Real Betis, losing 5-2 on Wednesday. Griffin Yow and Quincy Amarikwa scored the goals for D.C. as coach Ben Olsen was able to give his rotation players and some players from USL side Loudoun United match action. Chris Odoi-Atsem made his first appearance in 14 months for United after missing most of 2018 and this preseason recovering from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“It means everything especially this organization that has stood by me throughout this whole time with my battle with cancer and on my road to recovery,” Odoi-Atsem said after his 65-minute run-out. “It felt great and the only way I can repay the city and this organization is coming out and playing as hard as I can every time I put on the jersey.
“I really appreciate everyone in this organization from top to bottom the fans, my teammates, the coaching staff, everybody for giving me support and this is my way of repaying them.”
The home team won both matches last year, with New England extending its home unbeaten streak over D.C. United to seven in all competitions (0-3-4). The Black-and-Red are 1-8-5 in their last 14 trips to Gillette Stadium, with the lone victory a 2-1 triumph in 2012.
(DeJuan Jones photo courtesy New England Revolution official Twitter account)
(Wayne Rooney photo courtesy Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports)