FOXBOROUGH -- The Revolution appeared uncertain about being on the playing field in a 3-0 loss to D.C. United Sunday. But they are more eager than usual to return to action after sustaining their worst home defeat in nearly six years.
"When something like that happens to this team, it's more motivation to get back and play," said midfielder Jeff Larentowicz.
Larentowicz and Andy Dorman were the only Revolution starters participating in training yesterday; both worked out lightly as coach Steve Nicol gave the starters two days off following the D.C. match.
Nicol plans to go with the regular starting lineup against the Harrisburg City Islanders in a US Open Cup quarterfinal tonight at Gillette Stadium. Only central defender Michael Parkhurst (right knee hyperextension) will be missing; he is questionable for the Revolution-Los Angeles Galaxy game Sunday, which will be the team's fourth home game since last Thursday.
"It's extra motivation for them," Larentowicz said of Harrisburg, which is in third place in the USL Second Division. "It's the game of the year for them and they will have fire in their belly. They will want to knock off an MLS club."
Harrisburg (11-3-5) improved to 7-1-1 since June 30 with a 2-0 victory over the Cincinnati Kings Saturday. The City Islanders have won three successive matches in the 88th US Open Cup tournament, including a 1-0 victory over D.C. United last month.
The Revolution have scouted the City Islanders through contacts such as former Premiership striker Shaun Goater, now president of the Bermuda Hogges of the USL, who attended practice yesterday along with Hogges coach Kyle Lightbourne. The Hogges visited the Western Mass Pioneers last night.
Larentowicz might have some of the best insight into Harrisburg, since he grew up in Pennsylvania and was a teammate of City Islanders striker Alfred Chambers.
"I grew up with him and we played together since Under-8s through U-19s for Westchester and Delco," Larentowicz said. "He has been injured but I am going to text him and see how he is doing. I'm excited about it. He is a guy who always loved soccer and I hope he gets to play.
"Philadelphia would be a great place for an MLS team. They have a supporters group called the Sons of Ben and websites to petition to encourage financial support for a team. There is a lot of history for the game in Philadelphia and, believe it or not, besides basketball, soccer is the biggest sport in Philadelphia."
The Revolution are making a concerted effort to advance in the US Open Cup and are making a financial sacrifice to play host to the match at Gillette Stadium.
"I imagine there will be less [attendance] than a standard Revolution game; my guess is a few thousand," Revolution chief operating officer Brian Bilello said. "There are a lot of factors: We are not playing an MLS team, we are squeezing the game into a weeknight, we have a lot of soccer this month."
The Revolution were eliminated in the quarterfinals of this tournament in 2003 (by the Rochester Rhinos) and last year (Chicago Fire).
They reached the 2001 US Open Cup final (a 2-1 overtime loss to the Galaxy).
"This is the round we usually get knocked out, the last years," Larentowicz said.
"This is a chance to make a run to the final. We have been steady in the league but in the Open Cup, it's something that has eluded us."
If the Revolution advance, they will meet either the Carolina RailHawks or the Richmond Kickers Sept. 4 or 5 in New Britain, Conn. Gillette Stadium has been ruled out as a venue because of a concert . . . In the Revolution's last US Open Cup match in Norfolk County, they took a 2-0 win over D.C. United Aug. 22, 2001, at Foxboro Stadium; a crowd of 7,128 arrived for the match, which was held four days after the teams had played an MLS game before 15,226, and three days before the WUSA final drew 21,078.
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at email@example.com.