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By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- D.C. United has a chance to go into an extended MLS break atop the Eastern Conference.
They will try to stretch their home unbeaten run to eight games Saturday night as they take on the New England Revolution.
D.C. (7-4-3) has 24 points from 14 games while East-leading New York has 26 from 13. The Red Bulls are idle this weekend, and neither team plays an MLS game again until the middle of June.
"No one wants to go out and lose this game and sit on our butts for a couple weeks and think about it," midfielder Chris Pontius told United's official website. "We've done well with how we've played at home and we are looking to continue that on Saturday."
Pontius has already been sitting the last two games with a leg injury, but feels healthy enough to return.
Cracking D.C.'s lineup as a forward won't be easy for Pontius despite his five goals. Maicon Santos has a team-high six goals and Hamdi Salihi has scored in each of the last two games to bring his season total to four.
"We've done extremely well," said Pontius. "We've had so many lineups and every game someone has stepped up. It's hard to defend us as a team and that's obviously going to make us better throughout the season."
Reigning league MVP Dwayne De Rosario, who leads MLS with seven assists, also has three goals in his last two games - both two-goal United victories at home.
D.C. ended a five-game losing streak to New England (4-6-1) with a 2-1 road victory April 14. The Revolution took the lead in the sixth minute on Jose Moreno's first MLS goal before Santos and Pontius scored for United.
New England has been playing better since that defeat, and is 2-1-1 in its last four games. The Revolution feel they will put forth a better performance this time, although they recognize that D.C. also may present a different challenge.
"I think teams evolve throughout the season," coach Jay Heaps told the Revolution's official website. "So there's a little familiarity with the players, but at the same time, you have to go back and find those nuances that have changed over the last couple weeks."
One change for the Revolution is the form of French striker Saer Sene, who has four goals and one assist in his last three starts. Sene scored both goals in last Saturday's 2-2 home draw with Houston.
New England will also have captain Shalrie Joseph available this time after he served a suspension in last month's meeting.
D.C. is 5-0-2 at home since losing its season opener - including four straight wins - while New England is 0-3-1 against East foes. The Revolution are 4-2-2 in their last eight at RFK Stadium, but 1-5-0 on the road this season.
"You have to realize the importance of taking your points at home," Heaps said. "So now when we go to a place that is a hard place to get points, we go in there with a mindset that if they came here and took from us, we should go there and take from them."
Updated May 25, 2012