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Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution - 3 questions plus with The Bent Musket

You know one of the things I love best about my blog is being able to converse with other bloggers and to get to know what they are thinking before matches.  This weeks really cool as both sides went beyond 3 questions, so here are the questions I put to the "The Bent Musket's" Steve Stoehr, one of the most recent additions to the SB Nation covering all things New England Revolution:

1.) Another year and again Steve Nicol has to find a way to integrate a bunch of new players into his lineup, which of these new faces has been the most impressive so far and which has the chance to be a real impact player for the Revolution?

A) Several good players have had a positive impact on the squad this season, including Stephen McCarthy and Didier Domi. However, if I had to pick just one who has been most impressive, it has to be A.J. Soares. The rookie center-back has been a rock in defense so far this year, partnering Franco Coria and Ryan Cochrane with calm and precision. His positioning has been impeccable and, if not for a harsh red card against Vancouver, he would be playing again on Saturday as one of the Revs' best performers thus far.

In terms of potential, however, Ousmane Dabo has the chance to have the biggest impact on this team. One of the Revolution's primary issues this season has been maintaining possession, and Dabo will bring the calm, intelligence and skill necessary to settle the midfield and help the Revs totally dictate matches. He hasn't been able to feature yet due to a persistent quadriceps injury, but as soon as he is healthy he should make the biggest difference in this squad.

2.) I don't think anyone would have counted the Rev's as one of the last 5 undefeated teams in MLS this year, but there you are.  What can you attribute this early season success to, and yes I do consider 1-0-3 to be success given most peoples predictions for New England this year?

A) The Revs have shown a greater urgency in the offense this season compared to the last campaign. Part of their success has certainly had to do with fortunate officiating, but it's no accident that New England has managed to come out and score early in three of four matches and then hold on for at least a point in each. Five goals in four isn't electrifying, but there's potential to build in some of these performances that just wasn't there last season. With a stable back line and two holding midfielders to keep leads and stifle attacks, the Revs have been able to jump out to early leads and then hunker down and secure a result.    

more questions after the jump:

3.) Over the last 3 years RSL is 4-1-1 against New England with two monster wins in Salt Lake City, what is it that has hurt New England when facing RSL the last couple years?

A) Last season's first clash at the Rio Tinto was an officiating disaster. Before any goals were scored, Fabian Espindola punched Cory Gibbs and escaped without so much as a warning, and just minutes later scored first (deliberately and obviously taunting the Revs after he did) to kick off a comprehensive 5-0 demolishing. At the Razor, the Revs played well but the squad was depleted and at the end of the day, RSL was better. Overall, Salt Lake has just been a better team than New England in the last three seasons or so. It pains me to admit it going into to Saturday, but there is not a single weakness in the Claret and Cobalt for the Revolution to possibly exploit. RSL is not only able to create and score, but they play a brand of soccer that Steve Nicol wishes the Revolution played: pass and move, and dominate possession. Against the Royals, New England has been consistently forced to chase the game from the opening whistle and that is simply no way to win a match.

4.) If you could pick a RSL player to put on the Revolution roster, who and why?

A) I would gladly take almost any player in the first team. I wouldn't trade Reis for anyone, but in the outfield it would be like a clearance sale. That said, the man I admire most in the Claret and Cobalt uniform has to be Javier Morales. He is a complete attacking player - he creates, he scores, he dictates play and is a leader among his peers. The Revolution currently rely on Shalrie Joseph for their creative spark. Shalrie is a dynamic midfield presence with phenomenal passing range and ability, but people often forget that he is naturally a holding midfielder with box-to-box ability. When the Revs were at their best, Shalrie was able to sit deep and enter the attack when he felt necessary, because players like Steve Ralston, Jose Cancela, Clint Dempsey and Andy Dorman were creating and scoring the goals in midfield. With Javi Morales, Joseph would be allowed to sit back and create from deeper in the midfield, confident that Morales could serve as the conductor of the attack behind the strikers.    

So now you know that a Revolution fan thinks about my questions and his team, if you want to know what questions he asked me and my answers, check out The Bent Musket.