It has been almost a month since the Revolution have won, but Saturday night’s game has all the ingredients to get them back on track. Goalkeeper Matt Reis and forward Juan Agudelo could return, and the game — at Gillette Stadium, where New England has won two of its last three — is against cellar-dwelling D.C. United, who are winless in 14 road games in 2013.
The Revolution are battling for a playoff berth with a month left in the regular season. New England, in seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 37 points, is 2 behind Chicago and Philadelphia for the fifth and final playoff spot. Fourth-place Houston has 40 points.
Reis missed last Saturday’s 3-2 loss to Chicago — goals from Kelyn Rowe and Saer Sene weren’t enough to overcome defensive lapses — because of a suspension stemming from a red card Sept. 8.
Although Reis is eligible to return, coach Jay Heaps has yet to make a decision between Reis and Bobby Shuttleworth (1.31 goals-against average).
It’s not exactly a bad problem to have, the coach said.
“We have two starting keepers,” Heaps said. “And we have to make a decision based upon what’s going to be best for us on Saturday.”
Meanwhile, Agudelo, the owner of six goals in nine games since coming over from Chivas USA in May, could figure prominently into the New England offense for the first time this month. He played 19 minutes against Chicago, but continues to nurse a right hamstring strain.
Rowe has stepped up to the tune of goals in the last two games, giving the 21-year-old five goals and an assist in his last five contests.
“This is the Kelyn Rowe we see most of the time in training, and you’re seeing glimpses in games,” Heaps said. “Those finishes you see for me are all bonus for the work he does and the competitive nature he brings every day. This is just the beginning of who we think Kelyn Rowe is going to be.”
New England’s top two scorers, Diego Fagundez and Rowe, have found the back of the net a combined 17 times this season — one fewer than the United have as a team.
Midfielder Dwayne De Rosario and forward Luis Silva lead D.C. United with three goals apiece, though Silva has done it in just eight games compared with De Rosario’s 20. Midfielder Chis Pontius, who missed close to 2½ months with a bad hamstring, is also a threat. He scored in last Saturday’s 2-2 tie against los Angeles.
“It’s 11 guys on the field defending, it’s not just four or five in the back and the goalie,” Rowe said. “So for us, it’s everyone, and we have to make sure we’re behind the ball, putting pressure on the ball if you’re far up the field.’’
At 3-19-6, D.C. United has the worst record in the league by a considerable margin. They score fewer than a goal per game, and have just one in two contests against the Revolution this season.
The United have not won since Aug. 7 and are 0-11-3 on the road.
“They want to come in and spoil our fun, and it’s a rival, so it’s a big game no matter where it is, no matter who’s in the run or not,” Rowe said. “They’re a good team who hasn’t had a good season, so for us, we have to punish them early and not let the throttle down.”