The Revolution have said that they will be "more aggressive" with player selection for tonight's US Open Cup quarterfinal clash against DC United. The match will take place at the Maryland SoccerPlex rather than DC's natural home venue RFK Stadium, the winner advancing to the semifinals to take on the winner of Chicago and Orlando City.
The Revolution have used a mixture of reserve and first-team player through their first two Open Cup games. But after having last weekend off for a scheduled bye-week, the Revolution are very fresh coming into the game.
“After having the weekend off, we can be a little bit more staggered in our lineup," said Heaps. “But our focus being on Wednesday, I feel like we’re well rested so we can be aggressive with the lineup.”
Andrew Farrell will likely start tonight at right back and see significant minutes since he's ineligible for Saturday's game at Chivas USA due to a red card he recieved in a 4-3 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps on June 15.
Kelyn Rowe, who has been on a hot streak in both the Open Cup and league play, as well as Chris Tierney, Ryan Guy, and Saer Sene should also see significant minutes.
Rowe has four goals in the tournament, two against Rochester and two against New York, and has been the Revolution's best offensive catalyst in midfield in recent weeks. He plays as a midfielder, behind the forwards, but will either make a fast run or a pass at the top of the penalty area which in turn creates space for either him or the forwards to have a crack at goal.
It's a tactic that may seem simple but is actually an art form. And for Rowe, it's clicking at the right time.
"It's good for us to get our legs rested. We had a long trip from Vancouver. But we have to make sure that our form does not stop."
"Every time I step on the field I have to perform. It's all about doing what you can to help the team."
DC present an interesting challenge. Though they continue to be the league's worst team and probably won't make the playoffs, they've progressed far enough into the Open Cup to make it their consolation prize. That makes DC dangerous since they will be up for the game and at home.
DC may also have the confidence that they can dismantle the Revolution after seeing them play earlier this season. They will probably be without Dwayne DeRosario (hip flexor), but were without him when they kept the Revolution scoreless in a 0-0 draw at Gillette Stadium on June 8. They have a tiny trail of momentum too, having snapped a 13-game winless streak last Saturday in a 1-0 victory over San Jose.
If they could, DC would probably use most of their starters. Alas, injuries are preventing them from doing so. In addition to being without DeRosario, their engine in midfield, DC's Dejan Jakovic, James Riley, and Lewis Neal will all see little to no minutes in tonight's game. On paper, that makes them significantly weaker.
"It's going to be a big challenge no matter what," acknowledges Rowe. "They're a good team they just haven't followed through in their games. They've finally found a win. They're really looking to keep building and find their stride. We're not going to let it happen."
If the Revolution win tonight, they'll be away for the semifinals. This is the farthest the Revolution have made it in the Open Cup since 2008. They won the trophy in 2007, defeating Dallas 3-2. The Open Cup winner gets a berth into the CONCACAF Champions League and a $250,000 cash prize.
"That's an area that we want to start talking about, more trophies," finished Heaps. "It's going to be a good match, both teams vying for more hardware."
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