New England Soccer Today

Revs hope to rebound in H-town

The New England Revolution will face a difficult task on Sunday night as they take on the Houston Dynamo for the first time this season.  The Revolution (1-1-3, 6 points) will have to battle away from home without captain Shalrie Joseph and defensive midfielder Pat Phelan after both received red cards during last week’s 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake.

Another concern for the Revolution lurks in the back, as French defender Didier Domi could miss the game due to a hamstring strain. Should Domi remain out of the starting lineup, crafty veteran Chris Tierney will likely start at left back.  Although the Revolution backline has been plagued with injuries, they’ve remained surprisingly solid nonetheless, and is tied for seventh-best in the goals allowed department (six in five games).

The Revolution could also welcome back the veteran presence of Matt Reis between the goal posts as the team searches for its first shutout of the 2011 season.

But the Revolution’s defense will be challenged with shutting down Houston’s offensive options.  With Brian Ching injured, Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear has opted to go with rookie Will Bruin and veteran Cam Weaver up top.

Bruin is a name the Revs should remember: during the preseason, the first-round pick scored twice in a two-minute span en route to a 3-1 victory over New England on March 13th.  Though Bruin has only scored one goal in four games, his presence on the field could be even deadlier with Brad Davis in the starting lineup.  Davis, a left winger, is tied for second in the assists category (3).

In order for the Revolution to find their second win of the season in Houston, they’ll have to focus on the following:

1.       Play smart in midfield.  Without Shalrie Joseph, Stephen McCarthy or Chris Tierney will need to set the example and settle an overambitious midfield.  Poor distribution has plagued the Revolution to start the season and is one of the reasons why the team has only scored five goals so far.  Good service for the strikers will only come if the Revolution plays patient possession soccer.

2.       Make the most of chances.  The Revolution have played considerably better so far this season than they did in 2010.  And yet, the Revolution have only scored five goals.  The Revolution, who boast a 4-0-1 (seven goals for, two goals against) record in H-town, should take advantage of a Houston backline that’s still searching for an identity and style of play.

3.       Crank up the energy.  The Revolution have looked noticeably sluggish in their last three games and will need to amp up their energy to gain a positive result in Houston.  The Dynamo are coming off a 3-1 victory over Vancouver and will be ready to continue their winning streak at home.  Houston have proven that they are a team to watch this season after grabbing positive results against Seattle (1-1) and New York (1-1).

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