Well it is independence day weekend and how fitting that the New England Revolution will be the July 4th opponent for RSL. It also allows me to do a quality question and answer session with Steve Stoehr of The Bent Musket, the SB Nation blog dedicated to the Rev's.
You can check out my answers to Steve's questions over on TBM, but here are my questions to Steve about the upcoming match:
1) As the Rev's have slid down the standings it has seemed like they have gotten frustrated on the pitch in recent matches and become a very physical team, has the more physical style been a deliberate change?
A) I don't think it's been much of a change at all, actually. New England has always been a physical side and, in recent years, that's been ramped up a little further to account for an exodus of technical quality. The frustration element has become more obvious as the team realizes that they're sinking without a trace and nothing is working. Poor officiating doesn't help, but it can't be blamed for this seven-match winless stretch, and the players know it.
The rest of the questions after the jump:2) New England has the fewest goals scored in the league this year and once again the team seems to be struggling to find a consistent goal scorer to play up top, Shalrie leads the team with 4 goals and Lekic has two but then no other player has more than a single goal. Now they face the stingiest defense in the league, where do you expect the goals to come from on Monday night?
A) I don't expect them to come from anywhere, frankly. The Revs have struggled to score against some of the worst defenses in the league, including Vancouver and Toronto; what's to make anyone think they'll manage to score against one of the best? If goals do come, they will likely be through Shalrie or Lekic, but it's just as likely that Matt Reis could pop up and score one as anyone else at this point.
3) I thought the combination of Shalrie Joseph and Benny Feilhaber would provide some real stability to the Revolution midfield and allow those two to lead the team to some solid results, but so far it has looked like there is more chaos than ever from the team, what beyond a forward is still missing from the roster?
A) Technical quality and soccer brains, in short. The biggest problem I see with this team is a lack of quality decision-making on the ball and a dearth of movement off of it. The thing I liked most about Ousmane Dabo in the short minutes he's played for the Revs is that he constantly shows himself for the ball and makes himself a possession outlet. Few others on the team - especially in the final third - seem capable of finding a bit of space to become a viable option for the player on the ball. Far too many of them are being reactive instead of proactive, and get caught ball-watching. It doesn't help that only Benny, Shalrie, Dabo, Domi and maybe Tierney have the ability to make consistently good decisions when in possession, but it would be easier for everyone else if there were some off-the-ball movement.
4) If you could pick any player from the RSL roster to add to the Rev's who would it be and why?Am I limited to just one?
A) Probably either Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers or Will Johnson. Olave and Borchers are two of the best central defenders in MLS, and even though I believe center-back might be one of the Revs' better positions on the field, Matt Reis' save numbers and the team's goals-against average indicate room for improvement. Will Johnson is a guy I like because he brings a fiery attitude to midfield but sacrifices nothing in the way of ability. He could play anywhere in the midfield for New England right now, and having him around would probably make things exponentially easier for the likes of Joseph and Feilhaber.
Obviously I'd rather have Javier Morales than any of the above, but since he's hurt I assumed he wasn't a candidate for the question.
Well there you go some insight from the Revolution side of this matchup. I will be posting my match preview for this match later tonight, so keep your eyes open for it.
OFF MY SOAPBOX