New England Soccer Today

Five Questions: #DCvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

The postseason hunt might be months away, but there’s very little question that Sunday’s game is a momentous one for the Revolution. And it’s not just because only four points separate them from their Father’s Day foe, DC United.

Sunday’s game carries significance because it marks the start of a grueling stretch in which they’ll not only play three games in seven days, but five of their next seven will be on the road. And a chunk of those games might be without Juan Agudelo and Lee Nguyen, which would only compound the loss of Jermaine Jones, of course.

If this team is going to survive without Jones, it has to get results from games like Sunday’s. Games in which they not only have a nearly-complete roster, but one which they’ll be fiercely tested. Games in which we’ll find out what this team is truly made of.

So yeah, you could say Sunday’s game is big.

No question Sunday’s game carries plenty of intrigue. So let’s take a look at the questions that surround the locals going into it.

1. Will Diego Fagundez be back in the XI? He may have just picked up MLS Goal of the Week for last week’s wunderstrike, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be enough to crack the lineup on Sunday. For starters (no pun intended), Fagundez went the entire 90 in Wednesday’s Open Cup tilt against Charlotte, which probably wasn’t a happy accident. There’s also the small matter that Agudelo is ready to return to the lineup more than a week after returning from National Team action. Fagundez may yet see action on Sunday, but he’ll probably have to wait until the latter half to do so.

2. Can the defense channel the form it carried last week? They’re capable of it, to be sure, especially if Andrew Farrell registers a similar performance. But let’s be honest: on one end of the spectrum, you have the Chicago Fire. On the opposite end, you have the DC United. It’s like going from semi pro to world class on FIFA15. That said, we’re still talking about a DC team that only eked out a single goal against a nine-man Revolution four weeks ago. So scoring in bushels hasn’t exactly been their forte. If the Revolution are going to keep United at bay, they’ll have to avoid the mental lapses that plagued them during their six-game slide. Oh, and also avoiding a red card…or two.

3. Which starter from Wednesday’s Open Cup game is primed for more playing time? Jay Heaps recently said he wasn’t terribly impressed by the way some of his players approached the midweek match against the Charlotte Independence. It’s safe to say he wasn’t talking about Steve Neumann, who not only went the full 90, but was on the team’s most dangerous threats against the USL side. Plus, there’s also the fact that Neumann went to school at nearby Georgetown, something that Heaps probably hasn’t overlooked. In light of that, look for Neumann to get a good 20-25 minutes on Sunday.

4. Who must bring their A-game to RFK Stadium? There’s no debating that each and every Revolution player who sees the field will need to kick it up a notch in order to get a result. But if there’s one player who must rise to occasion, it’ll have to be Agudelo. Pitted against a defense that’s looked very ordinary in recent weeks, the 22-year-old winger must take advantage of any cracks in the rear and help steer the attack toward paydirt. He, along with Charlie Davies, must continue to drag defenders away and open up pockets of space. We’re not saying the Revolution are going to live and die by the way Agudelo performs on Sunday, but if he can kick it up a notch, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which they aren’t able to get a result.

5. What will Sunday’s game say about the state of the Revolution? Win, lose or draw, Sunday’s game will speak volumes about where the Revolution are at the midway point in the season. A win, whether it’s by one goal or a wide margin, will signal that this team has no intention of taking the same second half nose dive we saw last season. A draw will likely tell us that it has the fortitude to get a result at a place where points are hard to come by for DC’s opponents – a result that Heaps will probably be happy to take, all things considered. A loss, even one in heartbreaking fashion, could be a harbinger of things to come amid the aforementioned unforgiving early-summer schedule. And after snapping a six-game winless streak, the Revolution can ill afford to stay in that slump, even in a conference as weak as the east.

What other questions surround the Revolution heading into Sunday’s game? Tell us in the comments section!

2 Comments

  1. pauloblitzz

    June 21, 2015 at 10:41 am

    Lee Nguyen’s struggles this season can not be ignored to much longer. If he continues to give less then 100% and not really contribute much like he has all of 2015 so far, Heaps has to be thinking of an option B. Could be a way to find Diego more time, especially if he stays hot. I think we may see Heaps start to pull Lee out of games here pretty soon as a signal.

    • BWG

      June 21, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      I agree with Paulo, what seems most disturbing to me is his on the pitch attitude. It may not come through on tv but it is clear in person. He looks visibly frustrated and when not frustrated disinterested and not putting in full effort. He still has moments but it is not the same as past seasons where he was playing hard all the time. I think the best analogy is he appears to be a bit like Benny during his brief stint with the revs. I think Heaps does need to send a message.

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