New England Soccer Today

Five Questions: #HOUvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The Dynamo that the Revolution will face on Sunday are not your older brother’s Dynamo. Or your older sister’s, for that matter.

The side that coach Owen Coyle trots out on Sunday won’t have Brad Davis in tow. Instead, they’ll have Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger (both of Philadelphia Union “fame,” if there is such a thing), as well as newly acquired Collen Warner. Heck, they won’t even be wearing orange on Sunday.

Nevertheless, the Revolution have their own set of unknowns going into Sunday’s First Kick clash. Not only nearly as many as their adversary, mind you. But a few. Which – wouldn’t you know? – brings us to our first five questions of 2016.

1. Who comprise the tag-team partnership at the six and eight spots? The preseason can be a smokescreen. A forum to throw shade at the early season opposition. Or it can be a preview of coming attractions. If it’s the former, then it’ll be Scott Caldwell and Gershon Koffie. If it’s the latter, then it’ll be Koffie and Kelyn Rowe. We think. You just can’t tell for sure when you’re talking about the preseason.

2. What do the Revs have to do to survive the opening 20 minutes? Take the heat like Steve Harvey at the Miss Universe contest. Pure and simple. The Dynamo are going to bring it in the opening minutes, as many home sides do during the first game of the season. Maidana, Giles Barnes, and Will Bruin will be keen to make those first 20 minutes a nightmare for their guests. To counter that, the Revolution will have to drop numbers back, ask guys like Koffie and Caldwell (probably) to keep their heads on swivels, and get Andrew Farrell primed to pull off an acrobatic clearance or two. You know, for good measure.

3. Who will be asked to come off the bench late? Steve Neumann showed himself more than just a pretty face on the bench this winter. He looked energized ready and attack. Look for more of the same when he’s called upon in the latter stages of Sunday’s match, one which could be calling Neumann’s name if it’s level or close. And if it’s not? Well, we all know Donnie Smith’s always game for an early-season cameo.

4. Can Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury extend their scoring success into Sunday’s match? Yes, if guys behind them can weather the early pressure. Should the match remain scoreless at the half-hour mark, look for the old National Team buddies to get cracking on a collaboration. With duo likely to switch off between the wing and striker a time or two on Sunday, the Revolution’s hot hands (or should we say, hot feet?) from the preseason will be keen to make Tyler Deric pick the ball out of the net at least once.

5. Can the Revs avoid another disappointing season debut? Only if they play smart, and avoid the same kind of dumb mistakes they made in Houston two years ago, and last year in Seattle. Coach Jay Heaps said earlier this week that his side will be all right if they don’t gift-wrap opportunities to the Dynamo on Sunday. With that in mind, the Revolution will have to be mentally locked in from the start, weather the early storm, and with enough pluck (and perhaps some luck) sneak one through. Hey, if Jerry Bengtson can do it, so can Davies. Or Bunbury. Or Agudelo.

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