New England Soccer Today

Five Questions: #COLvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

You have to feel for Rapids supporters.

The last time they saw one someone in burgundy score a goal in a meaningful game was back on Oct. 11, 2014. That’s 173 days ago. And they club they scored against? It doesn’t even exist anymore.

But wait. It gets worse.

The last time the Rapids won came on Jul. 26, 2014. Yes, your calculations are correct: that was 250 days ago. And against the same club that went dark for good during the offseason.

About the only thing going well for the Rapids right now is that their defense has pitched a trio of shutouts. That and Pablo Mastroeni’s moustache. OK, that’s two things.

There’s still plenty of time to turn things around. The Rapids’ struggles aren’t forever. At some point, both dubious steaks will be snapped, even if the struggles continue.

Revolution supporters can empathize on at least one level: they, too, had to endure a lengthy wait to see the first goal of 2015 materialize. They know the frustration of watching opportunities evaporate before their eyes. The agony of the near-misses and the what-could’ve-beens.

It’s a feeling that, at some point, every supporter will encounter. All clubs struggle at some point. But Revolution fans just need their scarf-waving peers in Colorado to be strong for 90 more minutes.

With the locals hoping to extend the attacking form they carried them to their first win of 2015 last weekend, let’s take a look at the questions surrounding the Revolution going into Saturday’s match.

1. Will Teal Bunbury return to action? You never want to rush one of your best players on offense back to action, especially this early in the season. There’s just no need. That’s especially true for a player who hasn’t played in nearly a month. But it appears that coach Jay Heaps is confident enough in his winger’s health to at least put Bunbury in the gameplan for the inter-conference clash. We may not see him in the XI, but it wouldn’t surprising if we see the fourth official’s board flashes a green #10 and red #9 around the hour mark, and we see a certain #17 shift over to center forward not long after. After all, you have to find a way to get back those three points the league took away from the Revolution earlier this week. Now, if they could just figure out a way to re-sign Luis “El Lobo” Fangoso

2. Who’ll be stationed at right back? Kevin Alston came off the injury report ahead of Saturday’s contest, so it appears that he’ll be ready to suit up on Saturday. Whether or not that’s a good idea is another question. Similar to Bunbury’s situation, away at Colorado might not be the best occasion to reintroduce a player coming off of an injury. Given the pesky nature of Alston’s hamstring, Heaps probably doesn’t want to burn a valuable sub if it goes rogue again. In light of that, we’ll probably see Jeremy Hall man the spot, with Darrius Barnes at the ready in the event of an injury.

3. Will we get another dose of the Agudelo-Davies tag team? If Saturday’s win over San Jose was a preview of coming attractions, then you have to think we’ll see both in the lineup again. Given how stingy Colorado’s backline has been early on, putting Davies up top and Agudelo out wide probably gives the locals their best hope of breaking through. Their interchangeability will be crucial to creating chances, and knowing that the guests can’t afford to waste those chances at altitude, it would be shocking not to see both take the pitch prior to the opening whistle.

4. What will be the key to getting a result? Two words: Set pieces. The best way to counteract the effects of the altitude is to capitalize on chances that require the least amount of sweat and energy. But that isn’t just about attacking set pieces either. As horrendous as the Rapids have been at pretty much everything that relates to playing soccer since last summer, all it takes for a club like that to gain any semblance of momentum is an opponent’s mistake. So with that gaffe likely to be pounced on by either Gabrielle Torres, Marcelo Sarvas or former Real Boston Ram Dominique Badji, the Revolution have to be mentally locked in when defending those set pieces, as well.

5. Can the Revs finally shake their woes in the Rocky Mountain State? Vegas would like their odds much more if Jermaine Jones was about to make his 2015 debut, but since that’s about as unlikely as an Andrew Farrell goal, it’s going to be tough to get a result, nevermind a win. That said, it’s not outside of the realm. Last week, the bounces started falling the Revolution’s way, and with the scoring drought over, this is a club with renewed confidence. Oh, and then there’s the fact that the Rapids have been putrid in the final third this year. If there’s a time in which the Rapids are ripe for the picking, Saturday might be it.

Leave a Reply