New England Soccer Today

Five Questions: #NEvMTL

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

It’s amazing how fast 20 years can fly right by.

Back on Oct. 17, 1995, the Revolution were little more than an idea. A good one, mind you. But just that: an idea. Yes, the wheels were turning, and the psychedelic kits were about to hit production. However, there was no history yet. Nothing. Nothing, of course, except for promise.

In the two decades since, the Revolution, as a top-flight American soccer team, exceeded that promise. They thrived. Well, at least some of the time. The early years were lean. So were the late-2000s. But there also magical MLS Cup runs. There was the Open Cup championship. And Super Liga! There were great players, too. Great moments. Lasting memories. All the above.

On Saturday, the very same squad that sprouted up from the promise made by U.S. Soccer to FIFA for the right to host the 1994 World Cup is slated to draw 40,000 fans for its home finale on Saturday. Think about that. Could any of us ever have pictured how quickly this day would come?

With a rich history behind us, and many, many more memorable moments and benchmarks ahead of us (think: soccer specific stadium), let’s take a look at the not-so-distant future, and the questions that surround the present-day Revolution heading into Saturday’s match against the present-day Impact.

1. Will Juan Agudelo get another start up top? Believe it or not, this is a hard one to predict. Yes, Swagudelo scored the Revolution’s lone goal against the Fire two weeks ago. And yes, he also led the way with three shots on target, including one that could’ve changed the course of the match after the hour mark. But he was also part of an attack that looked frazzled in the second half. That said, who gets the start may boil down to who had the better last two weeks of training. If it was Charlie Davies, who’s also served as a motivating presence when skies get gloomy, then we may see no. 9 instead of no. 17 at the striker’s spot.

2. Who’s at right back this week? Flip a coin, because arguments could be made for either Jeremy Hall and Kevin Alston. For an offense that needs all the juice it can get from wherever it can get it, Alston is your man. He has the speed to stretch defenses, make opposing wingers look like fools, and can, on occasion, whip in a decent cross. On the other hand, Jeremy Hall has shown himself a reliable defender during the second half of the season. For a team that’s allowed seven goals in its last three, Hall’s contributions can’t overlooked. Given that this is the time of the year in which aspiring playoff teams must fix the leaks, look for Hall to return to the right back’s spot.

3. What can be done to contain Didier Drogba? Short of kidnapping him and holding him for ransom inside the mini-jail at Gillette Stadium, not a heck of a whole lot. From a distance, the solution would be dial up a defensive stance that limited his space. By “limit,” we mean eliminate it completely, of course. This is Didier Drogba we’re talking about. Since that’s probably not going to happen, the partnerships in the rear will be crucial. Farell and Jose Goncalves have to be telepathic in their assignments while Chris Tierney must stay linked with Scott Caldwell when it comes to cover. Oh, and lest we forget: it probably would’t hurt Jermaine Jones to get involved, either.

4. Can Jermaine Jones carry this team on his back, if necessary? He may have to at this juncture. With the playoff race tightening by the minute, and the Revolution routinely postponing their playoff-clinching celebration, now is the time when Jones has to earn his hefty paycheck. Not at the beginning of the season, not while Snapchatting with Charlie Davies, and most definitely not when he’s riding around on his Phunky Duck in the Gillette Stadium parking lot. But now. Now, when the stakes are raised, and it’s all on the line. This is the time in which Jones must do whatever’s necessary to get the job done.

5. What must the Revs do to get three points? This is an easy one: score, preferably more than once. And defend, ideally for 90 minutes. It’s really that simple. The execution? Not so much. Then again, this team has the talent to do it. They have a pair of solid center backs. They have savvy and smart fullbacks. They have one of the best central midfield tandems in the league. Oh, and did we mention they have pair of National Team-quality offensive threats? In other words, they have the resources to win. Given all these facts, they simply have to follow the mantra of that other football coach in Foxborough: do your job.

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