D.C. United have tasked Chad Ashton with taking charge of the side for Saturday’s home meeting with New England Revolution after sacking head coach Hernan Losada.
The Black and Red became the second MLS side this term, after San Jose Earthquakes, to make a change in the dugout when announcing Losada’s departure on Wednesday.
United, who have lost four league games in a row and are bottom of the Eastern Conference, confirmed long-serving assistant head coach Ashton will take over as interim boss.
Ashton will be in the dugout when the Revs visit Audi Field this weekend and he has previous experience of doing so, having taken temporary charge towards the end of 2020.
And D.C. president Dave Kasper has no qualms about calling on Ashton for such a big game.
“We believe that Chad’s ability to prepare for upcoming opponents and man manage players and in-game strategic match situations paired with his knowledge of the league will provide a springboard to further progress our style of play and enable us to compete at a higher-level as we push forward for a successful season,” he said.
United will be looking to bring an end to their losing streak against a Revs side that had themselves lost four in a row prior to beating Charlotte FC 2-1 last week.
That victory lifted the mood around New England, but Bruce Arena’s men remain in a lowly 11th place in the East heading into Saturday’s clash with managerless United – a position they are desperate to improve on.
“We’ve done it before. So, there’s no reason to believe we can’t do it again,” Arena said when asked if he is confident his side can climb the division.
“It’s been absolutely a crazy start to the season. I can’t explain it, but I do know that there’s a lot more games ahead, so you can’t be getting too high or too low at this point.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
D.C. United – Julian Gressel
United continue to struggle, but Gressel showed some promise last weekend when recording his first and second assists of the season in the 3-2 loss to Austin FC.
The hosts are without the suspended Ola Kamara on Saturday, so it will likely be Nigel Robertha who Gressel will aim to pick out in the middle.
New England Revolution – Carles Gil
Gil was kept quiet in front of goal in last week’s win against Charlotte, but he has been in superb form on his travels for New England.
The 29-year-old has contributed to a goal in each of his last five away MLS matches, scoring three and assisting two more, dating back to late October.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– New England have won six straight matches against D.C. United, with five of those wins coming by a one-goal margin. The six-game run equals New England’s longest winning streak against any opponent in its MLS history, while D.C. have lost more just once: seven straight to Philadelphia from 2017-20.
– United have lost four straight matches for the first time since a five-match losing streak in September-October 2020. United’s last two losses have come on goals in the 90th minute or later, the first team to concede winners that late in consecutive matches in a single season since Houston in August 2018.
– New England ended a four-match losing streak with a 2-1 win over Charlotte. The Revs have not won consecutive matches since last September when they won three straight, with the victory over Charlotte just their fourth win in 13 matches since that streak (D4, including a penalty shootout loss, L5).
– Kamara scored two goals before being sent off just before half-time against Austin last week. Kamara is the second player in MLS history to have two goals and a red card before half-time, after Obafemi Martins for Seattle against Chicago in June 2014.
– Gil has either scored (two) or assisted on (two) four of the Revs’ last six away goals.