Revs look for a jump start with early start

Posted on 22 May 2010 by Hank Alexandre

Today the New England Revolution head to Toronto FC for their final meet-up against the northern side of the regular MLS season.   The game has been moved up to start at 1:00 ET so not to conflict with the UEFA Champions League Final starting at 2:30.  This early start just might be what the Revs are looking for to jump start their season.

The Revs are 2-5-2 coming into this match, with their last win coming against Toronto FC in the Revolution’s home opener way back in April.  Since then they have managed only two points in six league games, and have lost six out of eight in all competitions, including a 3-0 US Open Cup loss to New York Red Bull, and a 4-0 drubbing at the hands of super club and Portuguese league champions Benfica.  Toronto FC, on the other hand, having lost three out of four games to start the season, have gone 3 -1-1 since and have not lost at home all season.

The Revolution took advantage of some very shaky play on behalf of the Toronto FC defense and were able to capitalize on it twice.  Zack Schilawski scored three goals that night and nearly had a fourth, while Kheli Dube and Sainey Nyassi, who also scored for the Revs, provided plenty of service for the rookie.  Toronto has since turned things around and have had a +3 goal differential over their last 6 games.

The good news for the Revolution is that Toronto FC will be down some key players.  Dwayne DeRosario, TFC’s leading goal scorer (6), is traveling with the Canadian national team and will miss the match, as will Julian DeGuzman, who is out with an injury.

The Revs continue to be without the services of center backs Darrius Barnes and Emmanuel Osei, and will be forced to start midifelder Pat Phelan in the back line for the second time this season.  Phelan, who played center back at Wake Forest, played 90 minutes on the back line for the Revs in last week’s match against San Jose, which ended as a scoreless draw.

The Revs may finally have the services of Shalrie Joseph however,  whose leave of absence from the team appears to have been a 5 game suspension for violating the leagues Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health policy.  Joseph’s last game for the Revs was the first meeting against Toronto, in which he played a large part in the success.  Since then the Revs have struggled to find a winning formation in the midfield, although in recent weeks have stopped the bleeding by switching to a 5 man midfield.  This formation has had benefits in recent weeks, most notably in the game against Columbus, in which midfielder Zak Boggs saw his first start and netted two goals for the Revs.

If Joseph does play, he will likely come in off the bench as he has not played with the team in 6 weeks.  He would likely come in for Chris Tierney, but considering Tierney’s improved play in the center midfield over recent weeks, Joseph Niouky may be the player to come off.  If Coach Steve Nicol decides he needs to play two forwards, he could play Perovic or Tierney out on the left and move Boggs into a more forward role, or substitute Boggs for Dube.

Projected starting line-up for the Revs: Burpo, Sinovic, Gibbs, Phelan, Alston, Boggs, Tierney, Perovic, Niouky, Nyassi, Schilawski

Prediction: 2-0 Revolution.

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