Friday, June 01, 2007

Revs - RSL Preview


It's gut check time. This is where we see what kind of mental toughness this New England side has. Coming off a very sloppy 4-3 defeat at the hands of Kansas City, the Revs will look to go into the bye week on a high note against Real Salt Lake. (click title to read more)

On paper, this looks to be an easy victory. The Revs are tied with Red Bull New York with 17 points at the top of the table with New York having a game in hand. Salt Lake is winless and holds the worst record in MLS. However, RSL seems to have battened down the hatches, and will look to do the same in Foxboro on Saturday. They held Chicago scoreless on one of the slowest surfaces in MLS last Sunday and will try to repeat that performance on the slowest surface in MLS. If they can slip in a goal, they can steal all three points.

Real Salt Lake recently traded away their biggest scoring threat, Jeff Cunningham. This should be a relief to the Revs as he carved up the New England defense last summer in a surprise 3-1 away victory played under similar circumstances in regards to the build up. In that one, RSL was on a horrific losing streak and the Revs seemed poised to break out following a return to health of several key starters. What occurred instead was Cunningham ripping New England a new one, continuing a summer of substandard play.

In return, RSL picked up our old friend Alecko Eskandarian. He's still waiting to "get his revenge" on Matt Reis for that collision which gave him a serious concusion. In the past, that has resulted in him franticly rushing shots. Let's hope that continues. I'd be reminisced if I didn't mention Freddy Adu. Lately, he's taken a back seat to other young players such as Josie Altidore. Moving to Utah didn't really help matters. He's not good enough to dominate games, so the thought process behind sending him somewhere that it would be "his team" seems to have been in error. He's never done well against New England (probably due to lack of size). The New England midfield can't let him control the ball, but I don't expect they will.

As for New England, there's a few questions as to which players will get the call. Avery John has been riding the pine as of late. With KC's four goal outburst, it would make sense John would get the start. Daniel Hernandez played 60 minutes in the 3-0 reserve team victory over KC on Sunday. With Jeff Larentowicz's form slipping and Shalrie Joseph's knocks, I wouldn't be surprised to see him make his season debut.

The real question is if Nicol now truly favors Adam Cristman over Pat Noonan up top alongside Taylor Twellman. The Revs attack seemed to come alive when Cristman came into the game in the second half last week. However, Noonan's still a better passer. The problem I have with Noonan is he seems to disappear at times. Cristman lets everyone know he's out there by continually banging bodies. This has helped free up Twellman from time to time. It's a tough decision. If I had a choice, I would start Cristman and sub in Noonan for this one. Noonan will be called upon to play 90 minutes when Twellman's gone playing for the US in the Gold Cup. I would want to keep the injury risk to Noonan at a minimum if I were the gaffer. It'll be muggy on Saturday, so we'll probably be seeing a lot of both of them.

All this is pure speculation. In reality, all those players probably had to earn back their spots this week after last game's debacle.

Projected Lineup

Reis
Heaps
Parkhurst
John
Ralston
Larentowicz
Joseph
Smith
Dorman
Cristman
Twellman


Other Previews

Boston Herald
Revolutionsoccer.net
MLSnet
AYL Soccer
OurSports Central
Fox Soccer
SL Trib (best. abbreviation. ever.)
Cristman Vs Noonan
Brad Feldman (more from revolutionsoccer.net)

1 Comment:

John said...

Nice post!