The three other times the Colorado Rapids have lost this season, the Burgundy Boys have bounced back with a win. But this time, the Rapids are missing a handful of pretty important players due to international call ups or injury. The Rapids seem to have been losing steam lately, so going to Foxboro and getting three points today against the New England Revolution is almost desperately needed. We talked to Jake, from The Bent Musket, to find out more about the Revs and what we might be able to expect.
Burgundy Wave: New England seems to be in somewhat of a decline over the last couple seasons. What has the team/management/Front Office done to try to fix it?
The Bent Musket: Well, the big news two years ago during the Revs' MLS Cup run was the blind draw acquisition of Jermaine Jones. Then we kind of traded him to you earlier in the year and had signed Xavier Kouassi, then of Swiss club FC Sion, to a pre-contract DP deal, to replace Jones. But Kouassi blew out his knee and probably any chance of playing for the Revs in 2016. So in the short term the Revs made two very smart trades in acquiring Gershon Koffie from Vancouver and arguably the club's MVP this season, Je-Vaughn Watson from Dallas. Those two have provided solid cover in the holding midfield and defense but the Revs have too many issues for any one player to fix right now.
The Revs also traded for Kei Kamara but sent Charlie Davies to Philly, so while they tried to right the ship in the spring, the Revs were oddly sellers at the trade deadline though the Davies deal was more about what was best for him rather than the team and I was personally okay with that. But right now the Revs roster stands at only 24 players, four of those are keepers if we count the on loan Matt Turner for the USL's Richmond Kickers.
That leaves the Revs with just 20 outfield players, assuming they're all healthy and we don't count Kouassi who was taken off the disabled list earlier this week. The Revs have been hurting pretty much all season, first in defense and more recently up top with Juan Agudelo and rookie Femi Hollinger-Janzen missing time for an already depleted striker corps. Aside from a surprise Open Cup win against Dallas in the final, I don't know if the Revs can salvage their 2016 season, but in fairness they should be looking at high expectations next year if the bulk of this team can stay together and Kouassi lives up to his DP tag to replace Jones.
BW: Kei Kamara might not be playing this weekend, but Lee Nguyen is still there and is obviously a big threat. Who else should the Rapids be worried about?
TBM: This is such a tough question, because the Revs are just ice cold right now on offense but if Juan Agudelo gets the start up top I have to go with him. The Revs have always been a team that scores by committee though Lee Nguyen's MVP season overshadowed this a few years ago.
Charlie Davies had a good season last year to lead the team but there are threats all over the field. Agudelo has an opportunity if he is ready to play all 90 minutes to really make Jay Heaps think more about a two striker system with Juan and Kei up top. This will probably mean reshuffling the Revs midfield but right now the Revs need a major jumpstart to the offense and Agudelo is an ideal candidate. Also, keep on eye on Chris Tierney's left foot, it's really good at soccer.
BW: August wasn't the best month for the Revolution with a 0-4-1 record. How important is this game against the Rapids and what do the Revolution need to do to get a win?
If the Revolution have any chance at taking something positive from 2016, these next two home games are crucial. Mainly, if the Revs don't get six points from this homestand I don't think the playoffs are going to happen, but also they need to build up to the USOC Final against Dallas in about two weeks so getting a few results combined with some good soccer could go a long way to getting this team the confidence it's going to need to win a trophy in Dallas.
Specifically against Colorado, this could be my dreaded "mirror-match" and by that I mean both teams tend to play a 4-2-3-1 and it can make for a lot of uninteresting soccer. The Revs have struggled on the counter this year, preferring to build from the back and I'm just not sure at this point that's something they're good at. The Revs backline makes a lot of mistakes and any time they're caught in possession the Revs seem to just give away easy goals. If the Rapids can capitalize on that they'll have a a swell time, but if the Revs can generate constant pressure Zac MacMath could have a long day. We'll see, it could go either way here.
Brad Knighton; Chris Tierney, Jose Goncalves, London Woodberry, Andrew Farrell; Gershon Koffie, Scott Caldwell; Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe; Juan Agudelo
The Revs have three players on the "questionable" list - GK Bobby Shuttleworth, F/M Teal Bunbury and D Jordan McCrary. Shuttleworth's injury might elevate new signing Cody Cropper of USYNT fame to the bench and if Teal isn't available that's a big loss for the Revs who will likely have to lean on rookie Hollinger-Janzen coming off his own injury. Femi's had some great moments this year, but it's not ideal for the Revs given the circumstances who already have a short roster.
New England is at home and very desperate. I think Juan Agudelo comes up big and finds the scoresheet twice, 2-1 win for the Revs.
Head over to The Bent Musket to see what they asked Burgundy Wave and for Abbie’s predictions on the game today!