New England Soccer Today

The Final Rehearsal

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

One last chance to make a positive impression awaits a number of players as the Revolution wrap up their preseason schedule against PDL side and Desert Diamond Cup host FC Tucson in the tournament finale at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Ariz.

Kickoff is set for 6:30pm ET, and a live stream will be available on

The Revolution (2-2-1) enter Saturday’s preseason finale with no fewer than five players hoping to earn a contract, and a handful of others hoping to cement a spot on the gameday 18. The Revolution are officially currently carrying only 22 players on the active roster with only eight days separating them from their First Kick clash in Seattle on Mar. 8.

Here’s what to watch for when the Revolution take the field for the final time in Tucson this winter:

1. How will the coaching staff approach the contest? With First Kick only eight days away, Jay Heaps will probably be inclined to use a first-choice lineup in order to further acclimate the starters to a regular season routine. Last year, Heaps used a lineup that was nearly identical the one seen in the season opener at Houston. But that didn’t stop him for giving opportunities to reserves, rookies and trialists before the final whistle. After the starters in last year’s preseason finale went 60-75 minutes, Heaps essentially emptied his bench to give one last opportunity those who needed it. With a handful of trialists still looking to make the trip back to Foxborough following Saturday’s finale, expect Heaps to adopt a similar approach, especially against PDL-level competition.

2. Trialist watch. Speaking of those working to earn a contract, we’ve witnessed a number of younger players make positive impressions this winter. But the cold reality is Saturday’s match may be the end of the road for some. Midfielder Tyler Rudy tweeted earlier this week that he’s already signed a contract, so he appears to have a spot assured once camp breaks. Donnie Smith’s injury allowed Marc Fenelus, a midfielder by trade, to showcase his versatility by at left back, so his case for making the roster appears to be strong. Midfielder Timi Mulgrew dazzled earlier in camp, but hasn’t quite found the same success during the last two contests. A dearth of defensive depth could mean that center back London Woodberry makes the squad. The only true uncertainties are the goalkeepers, as neither Trevor Spangenberg, nor Tomas Gomez, have seen any minutes this winter.

3. Who’ll be pushing for a spot in the First Kick XI? The easy answer to that one can be found at right back, where converted defender Jeremy Hall has spent much of the winter making his case for the spot. Hall has gotten plenty of minutes at the spot vacated by Andrew Farrell, who switched over to center back. A strong showing during the Desert Diamond Cup finale could allow Hall to earn the spot over Kevin Alston and Darrius Barnes. Elsewhere, Andy Dorman and Daigo Kobayashi are both contenders to don the #8 shirt while Jermaine Jones recovers from sports hernia surgery. Kobayashi could also be fighting Steve Neumann for a spot behind either Juan Agudelo or Charlie Davies if Lee Nguyen isn’t ready to go once First Kick rolls around.

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