New England Soccer Today

Preview: Columbus Crew at New England Revolution

The Revolution host Eastern Conference leading Columbus Crew tonight in what is a must win match if the playoffs are at all possible, though the team is more likely just playing for pride at this point.  The Crew, who are without some key players including Robbie Rogers, Chad Marshall, and Danny O’Rourke, have still managed to put together a solid string of results throughout the season with their 13-7-5 record.

The last time these two teams met was in Columbus on May 8.  Zak Boggs netted his first two goals of the season in the match, but a late goal from Eddie Gaven lost the match for the Revolution.

Tonight, though Boggs is unavailable, the Revolution have the luxury of bringing Edgaras Jankauskas to the bench for the first time since mid-May.  Other injuries to the Revolution include Nico Colaluca, who is on the “out” list along with Taylor Twellman, and Preston Burpo.

US Internationals Chad Marshall and Robbie Rogers will not be playing tomorrow night due to their injuries, while it is doubtful we will see defenders Gino Padula and Danny O’Rourke.

Even without their defense and offensive strike forces, Columbus still has its share of fire power.  The Crew have scored 33 goals this season, 7 of which come from Guillermo Barros Schelotto.  Schelotto also leads the team in assists with 8.

Thus far, Columbus have allowed 27 goals.  Columbus goalkeeper Will Hesmer is sixth in MLS with his goalkeeping stats- he has a GAA of 1.08 with 10 shutouts this season and 69 saves.  When Columbus allows the first goal, their record is 1-7-2.  In contrast, when they score the first goal, they are an undefeated 12-0-1.

The keys for the Revs are to play with confidence, not to stop attacking, and defensive discipline.

After Wednesday night’s game against Dallas, the Revolution proved that they can still play soccer well- and they need to especially since tonight is a must win.  The Revs need confidence in midfield and for the midfield to create chances in the attack.

Once the Revolution find Columbus’ weaknesses, they need to exploit them to no end.  Ergo, keep attacking.  This year, the Revolution have been shot on more than any other team in MLS- they should try flipping the odds on the Crew.  Also, once a goal is scored, the game opens up.  The Revs have let other teams judge the pace of the game too much this season- at home and with playoffs or just pride on the line, that has to change.

Finally, the Revolution need defensive discipline.  The draw to Dallas could have been a win with defensive discipline. Darrius  Barnes and Cory Gibbs need to communicate with Matt Reis.

It’s still sink or swim- but if anything is possible- they had better swim.

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