New England Soccer Today

Five Questions: #PHIvNE

Photo credit: New England Revolution

Photo credit: New England Revolution

Prior to Wednesday’s NBA game between the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder, Revoluton striker Charlie Davies and Celtics guard Evan Turner posed for pictures at center court bearing a pair of interesting jerseys.

Davies held up a Revolution jersey bearing Turner’s name and number. Turner, a Celtics jersey with Davies’ familiar no. 9. This got us thinking: Why don’t the Revolution have a St. Patrick’s Day-themed jersey?

The Fire, which plays just outside a city with a dense Irish population, donned jerseys with green numbers in 2010. A few years ago, the Earthquakes did the same. Wait – how the heck did the Earthquakes beat the Revolution to punch on the St. Paddy’s Day theme?

This is Boston. The city that oozes Irish culture on so many fronts, especially around St. Patrick’s Day. Heck, the basketball team isn’t named “the Celtics” by accident.

If anything, the Revolution should’ve been the first MLS team to don a jersey that beckons the phrase Erin go bragh. Instead, the only thing we get is a pre-game photo op at TD Garden (albeit a pretty cool one), and a 703-word story that makes the argument (or at least tries to) why there should be one.

Unless the kit man has something up his sleeve, there’ll be very little mystery surrounding what color the Revolution will wear on Sunday.

So let’s tackle the questions that actually do exist ahead of the locals’ sole regular season trip to Chester, Pa.

1. Will Charlie Davies see the field? Given that a nor’easter could make conditions less than ideal on Sunday, we’re going to go out on a limb and say no. Even if weather wasn’t going to be a factor, you don’t want to roll the dice on a player who’s not only crucial to your offensive success, but someone who only recently showed he can stay healthy for an entire season. Plus, slick surfaces and strained hamstrings go about as well together as corned beef and peanut butter.

2. What version of the Revolution will we see? It’s fair to say the first two games of the season have been polar opposites for the locals. Matchday 1 witnessed a burst of scoring from the Revolution, who were then blanked six days later. Fortunately for the locals, the Union don’t feature the same savvy and experience in the rear as DC. With that mind, set pieces will be crucial, especially against a young defense that’s already forced Andre Blake to make a number of bids for MLS Save of the Week. In other words, it’ll probably be a mix of what we saw during the first two matches: enough offense to power to generate a goal or two, but not three.

3. How will the possibility of inclement conditions affect the Revolution’s tactics? With Davies likely parked, and mistake-avoidance key for both sides, Heaps may be tempted to put Teal Bunbury on the wing, and Juan Agudelo up top in light of the former’s defensive prowess. Another area in which the conditions may impact the decision making: central midfield, a spot where Scott Caldwell may get the start over Kelyn Rowe. Then again, if there’s a yellow ball involved…

4. Can the Revolution contain Chris Pontius? If there’s one player Jay Heaps will be particularly concerned about come Sunday, it has to be Pontius. Never shy to threaten a Revolution back four, the former DC scorer has found past success against the locals thanks to his knack for the well-timed run. Coming off a two-goal game, you can bet Pontius has the confidence to make a few B-lines for the box. The MLS Chris Pontius. Not the other Chris Pontius.

5. Is win no. 1 attainable at Talen Energy Stadium? Yes, but with a caveat. While the Revolution shook their lengthy struggles in Chester a couple of years ago, the Union may have them right where they want them. Philadelphia is coming off a 2-1 triumph over Columbus, and the likes of Pontius and C.J. Sapong both know how to embarrass the Revolution. At first blush, the local might be the more talented team, but then again, this is MLS where anything – and almost everything – goes. Just ask honorary Sacramento Republic FC forward Didier Drogba.


  1. pauloblitzz

    March 20, 2016 at 8:10 am

    Hoping we go out with Teal up top and Juan on the wing. Charlie comes in as a sub. I don’t see why Teal, who was hot in Arizona and played well in Philly before, shouldn’t get a start up top. Juan hasn’t done much up there with his time so far.

  2. Brian O'Connell

    March 20, 2016 at 10:17 am

    Indeed – Teal had a great preseason. I think we’ll see Bunbury start up top, before he and Agudelo switch off in the second half, similar to what we saw last week.

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