New England Soccer Today

A Tale of Two Teams

The Revolution will be counting upon Benny Feilhaber to deliver against the red-hot Whitecaps on Saturday. (Photo: Tony Biscaia/RevsNet)

After falling short of the playoffs two years in a row, the Revolution scrapped the old and embraced the new during the offseason. And that new approach has yielded a new coach and a fresher style of play that has made the Revolution competitive in each of their matches so far this season.

But the Revolution aren’t the only team going through a rebuilding process. Just ask the Vancouver Whitecaps.

When the Revolution take on the Whitecaps on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, almost everything will be a toss-up. The Revolution and Whitecaps are in similar places as far as quality, in terms of the on-field product along with the new faces in the technical area. Both teams have added skilled players and freshman head coaches. And both teams sit in the middle of their conferences looking to move up in the standings.

But despite the seemingly equal strengths of both teams, the Revolution may have a key advantage over the Whitecaps. The Whitecaps have travelled 3,208 miles from Vancouver to Boston, a difficult trip which ought to give the visitors some fatigue come the opening whistle. Travel was certainly was a factor for the Whitecaps last year when they dropped a 1-0 decision to the Revolution at Gillette Stadium on May 14.

Nevertheless, the Whitecaps have confidence on their side. Going into Saturday’s contest with a three-game winning steak means that the Revolution will have to be careful not to take anything for granted. But the real key for the Revolution will be getting their attack, which has fluctuated from powerful to dreadfully inconsistent, clicking. This will be no easy task.

The Whitecaps defense has been a brick wall so far this season. In nine games, the Whitecaps have allowed just seven goals, the second fewest in the Western Conference. Vancouver’s defense is perhaps the most revamped part of the team. For perspective: at this time last season, Vancouver had already allowed 14 goals.

The difference for the Whitecaps this year is a healthy backline, plus a few key additions. The Whitecaps step into Saturday’s game  with only two players on the injury report – neither of which are on the defense. U.S. National Team central defender Jay DeMerit has been a fixture in the backline this season after missing most of last season due to injury. Joining him is Lee Young Pyo, a South Korean left back with previous experience for powerhouses like Tottenham, Borussia Dortmund, and PSV Eindhoven.

Cracking Vancouver’s defensive shell won’t be impossible, though the Revolution will have to make the most of their chances. The combination of Saer Sene and Blake Brettschneider will have to fire on all cylinders if the Revolution want to stay undefeated against Vancouver.

One Comment

  1. rick sewall

    May 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    The Revs were not competitive vs Kansas City, but otherwise have done pretty well.

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