Friday, April 13, 2007

Preview: Revs - Toronto

Tomorrow's the day when the New England Revolution raise the curtain on another season of soccer at Gillette Stadium. In their first doubleheader since 2005, our game is preceeded by a US Womens friendly against Mexico. Couple that with this game being part of the initial Beckham 4-pack, and there could be a good crowd cheering on the Revs.

This will be the first ever meeting between the Revs and Toronto FC. Toronto dropped their opener in LA last week 2-0 against Chivas USA. Although they looked good at times in the first half, they lacked the consistency on defense and the continuity on offense to win. Even with the possibility of #1 pick Maurice Edu coming off of injury and making his debut, the newcomers shouldn't pose much of a threat to a healthy Revolution side.

The problem is, the Revs wouldn't be what you would call healthy. There's a very real possibility that Pat Noonan won't be starting and Shalrie Joseph will join Kenny Smith in sitting out another game due to muscle injury. Micheal Parkhurst and Daniel Hernandez are definite no-go's as it is. To be honest, the Revs are in real danger of dropping all three points in this one if we trot out the same eleven we did last week.

Toronto has two forwards Revs know very well: Alecko Eskandarian and Edson Buddle. Both had remarkable years in 2004 and have had trouble re-establishing that form ever since. Alecko still held a grudge against Matt Reis for ending his season in 2005 as late as last season, so you have to wonder if he still has hard feelings. He had poor shot selection and made some questionable fouls against Revs players when he played against us last year, so he may still be preoccupied with getting his revenge.

The biggest weakness with Toronto is their defense. Coach Mo Johnston plays a wide open style which leaves their three defenders on an island more often than not. If Taylor Twellman and Pat Noonan are worth their paychecks and Andy Dorman is as good as we think he is, the Revs shouldn't have too much of a problem finding the back of the net. However, if Joseph is missing, Dorman will have to provide much more defensive coverage which will effect his offensive input.

Probable Linups:

New England: Matt Reis, Jay Heaps, James Riley, Avery John, Steve Ralston, Gary Flood, Jeff Larentowicz, Wells Thompson, Andy Dorman, Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan

Toronto FC: Greg Sutton, Miguel Canizalez, Andrew Boyens, Jim Brennan, Marco Reda, Paulo Nagamura, Carl Robinson, Andy Welsh, Richard Mulrooney, Alecko Eskandarian, Edson Buddle