New England Soccer Today

Five Questions: #NYCvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

A chance to turn their struggles around and get some last-minute momentum going into the postseason awaits the Revolution ahead of Sunday’s regular season finale against New York City FC.

After a four-game hiatus from the win column, the Revolution are looking at Sunday – a.k.a. #DecisionDay – as the perfect opportunity to put the past behind them.

With that elusive playoff clincher finally theirs (or at least as good as theirs, barring the inexplicable), let’s take a look at the last set of questions surrounding the locals during the 2015 regular season.

1. Who needs to get going in order to turn the offense around? A good argument could be made that the everyone on the Revolution’s attacking ops needs to get their act together given the meager production we’ve seen over the last month. But we all know that the top gun is Lee Nguyen. When the shifty midfielder is at his best, the rest of the offense usually follows suit. Conversely, when he struggles and get frustrated, well, you see scenes similar those witnessed last weekend against Montreal. If the Revolution are going to get out of the desert on offense, they need Nguyen to channel the same form seen during that six-game winning streak we vaguely recall happening during the second half of the summer.

2. Can the defense do enough to shut down David Villa? Only if they put together a complete performance. Yes, it may sound like a cliche’, but it’s only because most cliche’s are true (especially in soccer). Last week, we saw the locals put together a respectable outing against Montreal, but they paid the price on what appeared to be their only mental lapse. Note: David Villa does not show mercy to those who aren’t defensively sound. Heck, he doesn’t take prisoners even when they are. In light of that, the Revolution are going to piece together the performance of the season, and hope for a little luck, too, in order to keep the Spanish scorer from striking.

3. Where do the Revolution have to improve going into the postseason? Answer: D. All of the above. Yes, this is the most accurate answer for a team that’s been outscored 8-3 in its last four. But if we’re talking about seizing opportunities – which, by the way, is a pretty important thing to do during the postseason – then set pieces might be the best place to start. Not only do the locals have the Best Free Kick Taker in MLS, but they have the big bodies needed to convert those chances. We’ve already seen the locals let their foes off the hook by failing to capitalize down the stretch. to that end, they can’t afford to be as accommodating once the stakes are raised.

4. Will we see London Woodberry back in the XI? Defensively, Woodberry wasn’t bad in a rare start last week against Montreal. Then again, it’s hard to look terrible against a team that, for all intents and purposes, put the bus in park right after first 5-10 minutes. Offensively? He might as well have stayed behind the center line. Unable to launch a single decent cross, Woodberry was non-factor on the attack, and for a fullback who’s greatest strength is found in the final third, that’s not really a good thing. Whether or not his struggles are enough to call upon Jeremy Hall in his stead will be interesting to see. One thing worth noting: the last time the Revolution faced City, they claimed a 1-0 win using Hall as their starting right back.

5. Are the Revolution’s playoff aspirations doomed if they don’t win on Sunday? Yes. Yes they are. Just ask Charlie Davies. 

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