With the 2014 season kicking off on Saturday, New England Soccer Today’s Brian O’Connell and Sean Donahue, along with Goal.com’s Justin Churchill, gave their opinions on 20 predicted totals for the 2014 season.
Total Revolution points: 50
Brian O’Connell: OVER. The Revs will come out of the gate stronger this year than they did in 2013, within the confines of a formation that suits their strengths. That, along with the addition of Teal Bunbury, should pave the way for a couple of more points this year.
Justin Churchill: Right about the same, it’s going to be a tough year for every team in the league.
Sean Donahue: EXACTLY (push). The offense will be improved this year, but the losing Matt Reis will cost the team some points.
Total Revolution goals: 49
Brian: OVER. Bunbury is no Agudelo, but he’ll put up similar numbers if he stays healthy. Plus, Fagundez, Rowe and Caldwell have more experience this year.
Justin: OVER. New England will have a better attacking presence right out of the gate.
Sean: OVER. The addition of Agudelo really improved the offense last season. Starting with Bunbury out of the gates should help lead to more goals this year.
Clean sheets: 10
Brian: UNDER. Aside from Kevin Alston’s battle with leukemia, the back four stayed fairly healthy last year, which was crucial to their success. The season hasn’t even started, and they’re already banged up.
Justin: UNDER. No more Reis
Sean: UNDER. Reis is a huge loss and the injuries to start the season aren’t a good sign.
Diego Fagundez goals: 10
Brian: EXACTLY (push). Fagundez doesn’t reach 13 with Bunbury taking some of the load off him, as well as Jerry Bengtson. Just kidding about Bengtson.
Justin: OVER. More progression for the lad.
Sean: UNDER. I expect Fagundez to continue improving this year, but the style differences between Bunbury and Agudelo (such as Bunbury being less comfortable playing with his back to goal) will lead directly to fewer goals for Fagundez.
Jose Goncalves appearances: 31
Brian: UNDER. He’s already picked up an injury, and the idea of him lasting another season without picking up a knock seems too improbable.
Justin: EXACTLY (push).
Sean: UNDER. Between his contract complaints and the preseason injuries, it’s hard to see him not missing a few games this season. Goncalves had a lot more to prove last season.
Stephen McCarthy starts at center back: 17
Brian: UNDER. As good as McCarthy has shown himself to be, Soares seems to have a firmer hold on the spot going into the season.
Justin: OVER. As long as he stays healthy, I think he plays best with Jose.
Sean: EXACTLY (push). Between injuries/suspensions/loss of form to Soares and Goncalves, expect McCarthy to end up starting about half the games this season.
Jerry Bengston goals: 3
Brian: UNDER. He’ll score a bloop goal early, then disappear. Again.
Justin: EXACTLY (push): Jerry will be sold in July and have a successful career abroad.
Sean: UNDER. Hard to see him getting too many minutes this year and hard to see him having a miracle turnaround at the club after the past few seasons.
Teal Bunbury goals: 10
Brian: OVER. If he stays healthy, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to reach the 11-13 goal range this year.
Justin: OVER. This could be a comeback year for Teal
Sean: OVER. If preseason is any indication, Teal looks ready to hit the ground running and have a breakout year.
Kelyn Rowe assists: 9
Brian: EXACTLY (push). He’ll collect nine, but collecting double-digit assist totals isn’t too far off into the future.
Justin: OVER. More options to play with.
Sean: OVER. Rowe will be the key to the Revolution’s attack this year. Expect his assist total to rise.
Chris Tierney posts hit on free kicks: 2
Brian: OVER. He’ll clank the woodwork at least three times this year. Gut feeling, and nothing more.
Justin: UNDER. I think he will take less free kicks this year.
Sean: UNDER. With more options to take free kicks this year, and perhaps a bit better luck for Tierney, this number should be low.
Dimitry Imbongo Red Cards: 2
Brian: OVER. He’ll reach two even before the All-Star Game.
Justin: OVER: If preseason was any indication, then it’s not looking good.
Sean: UNDER. For two reasons: 1. More competition/depth for the spots he plays = less minutes; 2. I expect much lower tolerance from Jay Heaps. One inexcusable red might mean a longtime riding the bench.
Bobby Shuttleworth starts: 17
Brian: UNDER. Brad Knighton will continue to outplay Shuttleworth into the regular season, and earn the bulk of the starts between the sticks.
Justin: UNDER. Tough call, but he will have to show up when he gets his chances.
Sean: UNDER. Based on preseason, the starting spot is Knighton’s to lose.
Lee Nguyen fouls committed: 55
Brian: UNDER. For two reasons: 1.) He’ll see fewer minutes with Kobayashi on the roster and, 2.) The Revs will add a veteran D-mid during the season, thus reducing his role as a big brother to Scott Caldwell along the defensive edge of the midfield.
Justin: UNDER. Simple improvement of his game.
Sean: UNDER. Expect Nguyen to play smarter defensively this year.
Lee Nguyen fouls suffered: 55
Brian: UNDER. Less playing time and a bigger target on Fagundez’s back as the two primary reasons.
Justin: EXACTLY (push). New England plays in a scrappy Eastern Conference.
Sean: UNDER. More competition for minutes at his spot this year and perhaps better set pieces will force opponents to limit the fouls.
Patrick Mullins starts: 12
Brian: OVER. Mullins is one of the most polished prospects in MLS. Heaps will almost certainly find ways to get him in the lineup plenty of times this year.
Justin: UNDER. I think he is the first player off the bench when Sene is healthy.
Sean: OVER. Mullins will likely start as Sene regains fitness and expect him to make the spot his own as the season progresses.
Daigo Kobayashi starts: 14
Brian: UNDER. But just barely. He’ll get about 12-14 starts, with Nguyen still getting the nod more often than not.
Justin: EXACTLY (push). Time will tell how he fits.
Sean: UNDER. Injuries might change this, but I don’t see him beating out any of the starters in midfield.
Scott Caldwell passing accuracy: 83%
Brian: OVER. The kid is just going to get better with his passes.
Justin: OVER. This player possess so many good fundamental skills.
Sean: OVER. I expect the team’s overall passing accuracy numbers to improve this year and Caldwell’s already strong percentage to get better.
Revolution All-Stars: 2
Brian: UNDER. It’ll only be Fagundez.
Justin: EXACTLY (push). Fagundez and Farrell
Sean: EXACTLY (push). Some combination of two of Fagundez, Goncalves, Rowe and Farrell will make it.
Revolution U.S. National Team Call-ups (post-World Cup friendlies included): 1
Brian: EXACTLY (push). Rowe gets a call up, with Bunbury getting an outside shot for a look.
Justin: EXACTLY (push). Rowe or Farrell might get their first call up
Sean: OVER. Rowe and Farrell will both get a look after the World Cup.
Players recalled from Rochester for an MLS gameday 18: 1
Brian: OVER. I think we’ll see the Revs utilize the affiliation more this year now that they’ve got a firmer grasp on what it entails.
Justin: EXACTLY (push). Who knows.
Sean: UNDER. A deeper squad across the board means the Revolution won’t have to recall anyone who gets sent to Rochester in an emergency situation.
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