New England Soccer Today

Five Questions: #NEvPOR

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

A short week for the local XI also means a quick turnaround here at Five Questions.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the set of storylines surrounding the Revolution ahead of their clash against the defending champion Portland Timbers.

1. Who’ll start at left back? With Chris Tierney unlikely to suit up, Jay Heaps has a couple of options at his disposal. Je-Vaughn Watson took over for Tierney in DC, so the Jamaican international might be called upon to man the left again on Wednesday. Don’t forget about Darrius Barnes, though, as the versatile veteran is another solid choice and is likely chomping at the bit for his first minutes in over year. The wild card: Donnie Smith. After all, he has to get his obligatory single start of the season at some point.

2. Is Charlie Davies ready to start? If Bunbury isn’t fit enough to start, the Revolution will need to get the most out of last year’s club scoring king. While Davies has been limited by the hamstring injury suffered in Week 2, there’s a possibility exists that he could be back on Wednesday, albeit not the for the entire 90. If Heaps can get 55-60 minutes from Davies, then it stands to reason that Davies will get the start. If not, Wednesday could mark Femi Hollinger-Janzen’s first MLS start.

3. Can the offense get on track without Tierney on the field? If Saturday’s match was any indication, Wednesday could be a rough go for the locals when it comes to finding the back of the net. After Tierney’s early exit, the Revolution offense went into a noticeable lull before some late changes sparked it back to life. But with the home crowd behind them, the Revolution cannot afford to let the offense go silent for too long. With a Portland squad that’s far from full strength on tap, New England has to be far more dangerous than they were in DC on Saturday.

4. How can the Revolution exploit a short-handed Portland outfit? Given that Caleb Porter may be forced to field a lineup without the likes of Diego Valeri, Darlington Nagbe, Adam Kwarasey, Darren Mattocks and Liam Ridgewell, the Revolution couldn’t have asked for a better time to face the defending champions. Whether they can take advantage is another thing, of course. To that end, the Revolution must get more from Diego Fagundez and Lee Nguyen, both of whom should get the chance to make an impact against a depleted Portland midfield and defense. Another player who should be able to tilt the mid-week match in the Revolution’s favor: Kelyn Rowe, who could find more space on Wednesday than he saw against the banks of four erected by DC over the weekend.

5. Which role players could get a chance to see some minutes? Hollinger-Janzen, Smith, and Barnes are three players already mentioned as potential contributors on Wednesday, but there’s also a possibility for others to see some action against the Timbers. With uncertainty in the rear and in the midfield, we could see Zachary Herivaux partner up with Koffie or Caldwell late in the match. Ditto for rookie Michael Gamble, who certainly looked capable during the preseason. And given how many shots Bobby Shuttleworth has already seen this season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Brad Knighton make his first start of 2016 on Wednesday.

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