New England Soccer Today

Turning Up the Heat

Photo credit: New England Revolution

Photo credit: New England Revolution

The Revolution kick off  Desert Diamond Cup action on Wednesday against Real Salt Lake, whom they faced earlier this winter in a rainy, 80-minute scrimmage. Although the locals claimed a 2-1 win in that Jan. 31 clash against the Claret-and-Cobalt, expect this one to be a different animal altogether with the start of the regular season less than three weeks away.

Wednesday’s match will kick off at 8pm ET, and barring any interference from the internet gremlins, will be streamed live via

Here’s what to look for during the Revolution’s Desert Diamond Cup opener:

1. The battle at right back. Easily the spot to watch this winter after Andrew Farrell slid to center back, it’ll be interesting to see who’ll get the start: converted defender Jeremy Hall, or veteran fullback Kevin Alston? Hall certainly got his feet wet during the first two scrimmages, but Alston has the advantage when it comes to familiarity with the system. Then again, some will argue that Alston is actually more effective on the left when healthy. No matter how you slice it at this point, the consensus seems to be that the spot is still up for grabs going into the tournament.

2. Who goes where? Make no mistake: Jay Heaps isn’t going to scrap the 4-3-3 for the 4-4-2. It just isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Or ever. But that doesn’t mean he’s set in how he wants to have his players operate within the system. Example: with Jermaine Jones out, what kind of responsibilities will be asked of Andy Dorman? What about Daigo Kobayashi? Or Scott Caldwell, for that matter? And what about the possibility of seeing Teal Bunbury and Charlie Davies man the wings simultaneously? No doubt, there are plenty of questions surrounding how Heaps will use his players on Wednesday. Live stream, don’t fail us now.

3. New faces ready to debut? It doesn’t take a mathematician to know that the Revolution have a short roster to work with going into the final four preseason matches. With eight vacancies, and only five trialists according to the Feb. 10 roster, you can bet dollars to donuts that the Revolution will introduce a few unfamiliar faces, some of which we may see for the first time on Wednesday. Remember: it was around this time last year that the club brought in Gorka Larrea, Marvin Ogunjimi, Jason Dodson and Daigo Kobayashi and yes, even Shalrie Joseph, for extended looks.

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