New England Soccer Today

Five Questions: #MTLvNE

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

After bagging six points in four days from Toronto and New York, the red-hot Revolution will look to close the week with nine when they face the Montreal Impact on Saturday at Stade Saputo.

The first meeting between the conference foes since March will also mark the Revolution’s third game in seven days, and a win would clinch a postseason berth with four games remaining in the regular season.

With plenty of subplots surrounding the streaking selection, let’s take a look at the questions ahead of another intriguing match.

1. What will the lineup look like? While the notion of having fresh legs after Wednesday’s match featured five changes isn’t totally bonkers, let’s be real: the charge on Diego Fagundez’s battery is on like 5 percent. Ditto for Andrew Farrell, and maybe even Bobby Shuttleworth. With all three probably due for a rest, we could see Juan Agudelo to get the start in place of Fagundez, and Brad Knighton to take the spot between the sticks. With London Woodberry suspended for Saturday, it’s not outside the realm that Jermaine Jones takes Farrell’s spot at center back while Andy Dorman slots in for Daigo Kobayashi at one of the two holding midfielder’s spots. In short: get ready for more changes, boys and girls. And potentially interesting ones, at that.

2. Will Jermaine Jones go the full 90? That all depends on where he’s stationed. If the inspirational skipper gets the start at center back, then he could very well make it to the final whistle without incident. But if he takes usual spot in the midfield (wherever that is), then he figures to get 80 minutes before he’s spelled by either Kobayashi or Dorman. Regardless of whether he’s good to go for a full 1.5 hours or just short of it, you can bet he’ll be leaned on heavily with a makeshift lineup around him and, oh yeah, Didier Drogba and Ignacio Piatti to contend with.

3. Can the offense continue to capitalize on its chances? Although the Impact are barely above the red line at the moment, and can lay claim to only one win in their last seven, the Revolution can’t afford a sudden reversal of fortune in front of the net. Not with Drogba, Piatti, Andres Romero and Dominic Oduro all anxious to put the first-place Revolution to the test. As such, the guests can’t afford to park the bus at any point. But the Impact’s talent up top is only half of the equation. After shutting out the Earthquakes and Galaxy in back-to-back weeks, the Impact have shown themselves a resolute side, unlike the Reds and Red Bulls. To that end, the likes of Agudelo, Bunbury and Davies have to figure out a way to break through, even if it means pressuring a center back to put one in his own net (sorry, Damien Perquis).

4. Will Saturday’s game come down to set pieces for the Revolution? It just may. Whenever tired legs are factor, and mix-and-match lineup is employed, strong teams tend to make good use of the opportunities outside the run of play. Fortunately for the Revolution, they’ll have a rested Chris Tierney ready to go, and an in-form Agudelo a prime target on those set pieces. That said, the guests also have to double-tap the screen on their soccer brain when it comes to dead ball situations. On Wednesday, it was Lee Nguyen’s quickly-taken free kick in the second minute that caught the Red Bulls off balance, and allowed Agudelo and Fagundez to combine on the opener. More of the same kind of trickeration (sp?) could go a long way again against an Impact side that doesn’t give away much on set pieces.

5. Can the Revolution make it a franchise-best seven-straight wins? Collecting 21 points in seven games isn’t that difficult a thing to do. Actually, it’s incredibly hard. Heck, it’s never been done in club history, and we’re talking about one of the MLS originals, and one that’s reached five title games, to boot. But based on how they’ve come together over the last two months, there’s no reason to think it’s impossible. After walking away with first place with a not quite first-choice XI on Wednesday, there’s no doubt that Revolution have the depth to do it even after playing twice already this week. Plus, they’re facing a team that’s only taken six points from their last seven. It won’t be a walk in the park, or a stroll in the Stade if you want to be technical about it. But if the Revolution can continue playing at the standard they’ve set since mid-July, then making it seven-for-seven isn’t such a far-fetched idea.

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