New England Soccer Today

Five Questions: #ORLvNE

Photo credit: Hazel Mae/Prost Amerika

Photo credit: Hazel Mae/Prost Amerika

If you liked the action from last week’s Revolution-Toronto clash, you’ll probably love Sunday’s match between the locals and the Lions.

While the Revolution showed well in the final third and probably should’ve deserved to win last week, they’ll probably usher out a strong, if not stronger, lineup for Sunday with the likely return of Charlie Davies to the XI.

Another aspect of Sunday’s clash that should make for plenty of attacking soccer is Orlando’s less than stellar defense, and we use the term “defense” loosely. Yes, they were undone by a botched call (sound familiar?) on the Tranquillo Barnetta blast in Philadelphia. Even so, don’t expect Sunday’s clash to resemble the scoreless draw DC helped pitch during week 2.

True, Kaka and Cyle Larin won’t make for an easy Sunday, but then again, neither did Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco eight days before. To their credit, the likes of Gershon Koffie and Scott Caldwell rose the occasion, with the only Toronto goal coming from a sequence immediately after Justin Morrow mercked Koffie in the midfield.

Kelyn Rowe was right when talking about the matchup earlier in the week: Toronto and Orlando are quite similar. They both play a fluid brand of football when they’re at their best and feature a deadly one-two punch up top. Heck, the Lions even grabbed former Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik for good measure.

The only stark difference? Coach Adrian Heath is, um, not at all like Greg Vanney, and we’ll leave it at that.

Aside from whether the four-draw Revolution are capable of avoiding another even scoreline at the end, what questions surround the locals at the Orange Bowl?

1. Can the offense muster more than one goal? Against the Lions, they should be able to. In last year’s clash at Orlando, the Revolution went up 2-0 before defending went the way of the dodo bird around the 71st minute. In the rematch at Gillette Stadium, New England grabbed an easy 3-0 win over an Orlando side missing Kaka and Cyle Larin. So what we’re saying is, yes, the Revolution can – and should – be able to find paydirt more than once. Another positive sign: Edvin Jurisevic won’t be there rain on the Revolution’s parade.

2. Who’ll start up top? Judging by Jay Heaps’ comments leading up the Sunday, you have to think there’s a real push to get Davies back in the XI. Heaps was effusive in his praise for the affable striker’s performance off the bench against Toronto, and with another week to rest his damaged hamstring, it looks like all systems are go for Sunday,  much to the chagrin of the Teal Bunbury for Striker 2016 campaign, which we understand isn’t picking up as many delegates as it did during the winter.

3. Will Jay Heaps talk about the refereeing again? Let’s hope not for everyone’s sake. Following Saturday’s draw vs. Toronto, the Revolution boss said that five of the club’s last six were determined by referee error (we’ll let you guess which one wasn’t). Yes, Edvin Jurisevic and Nima Saghafi may not have been at their best, then again, welcome to MLS. That said, we have two words for you: Baldomero Toledo. Odds that Heaps talks about Toledo, who’s both taken from and given to the locals over the years: push.

4. Can the Revolution contain Kaka? If last week was any indication, then all signs would point to “yes.” Kaka and Sebastian Giovinco are both given plenty of freedom to go where they please, and with good reason. Both have the instincts and understanding to exploit a blind spot, though Giovinco might be a better finisher in front of frame. That said, Kaka is one of the best there is at what he does, which find gaps and put passes on silver platters. To contain him, it’ll take another strong game from Koffie and Caldwell, as well as the center backs, to turn Kaka into Sebastian Giovinco of Week 6 vintage.

5. Is Kelyn Rowe destined to find the back of the net? The fifth-year midfielder opened his account last week, so finding that elusive first goal of the season is a non-issue going into Sunday. And you can bet that when he steps onto the pitch at the Orange Bowl, he’ll make a mental note of the goal he scored there last year, so confidence shouldn’t be an issue for him. While the Lions’ defense isn’t the worst in MLS, they’re not the best either, and Tommy Redding’s possible return from a concussion may mean some moments in which he and Seb Hines aren’t on the same page, a development that should have the Revolution midfielder practicing his rowboat celebration during pre-game warmups.

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