Real Salt Lake will look to put a disappointing mid-week result behind them as they get set to host the New England Revolution. The Revs have only won in Utah while playing at Rice-Eccles Stadium in 2007. They are yet to notch 3 points at Rio Tinto since RSL’s move in 2008. New England will be hoping to continue their hike up the league table after ending their three match losing streak against Columbus Crew last weekend.
New England will most likely have Bobby Shuttleworth back in net after serving his red-card suspension last week against Columbus. The 29 year old keeper hasn’t enjoyed much success this season as he holds a 1.73 Goals against average while only saving 59% of shots on frame. Shuttleworth ranks among the lowest in the league in this department while his back-up Brad Knighton hasn’t fared much better. You could say Revolution manager Jay Heaps has a bit of a selection headache amongst his goalkeepers, but not in the good way.
One of the brightest spots in New England’s back-four is left back Chris Tierney. The local kid hailing from Dedham, Massachusetts has a superb left foot that can ping crosses in from anywhere on the pitch. Tierney is usually the prime candidate to take any corner kicks the team wins. In the heart of defense will be Jose Goncalves and London Woodberry. Goncalves is a 30 year old veteran with over a decade of experience in European football. He signed permanently with New England after being loaned from FC Sion in Switzerland. In the right-back position will be the athletic Andrew Farrell.
New England will likely pack the midfield to free up space from their own playmaker in Lee Nguyen. After a stellar 2014 season, Nguyen has yet to replicate his form that carried his team to the final. Although he hasn’t had the same production since 2014, he is still among the most technically gifted players in the league, proving so with his volley last week against Columbus. Nguyen also ranks tied for 3rd league-wide in assists with 7 on the year. Teal Bunbury and Kelvyn Rowe will support Nguyen from the wing positions. Usual defensive-midfield enforcer Gershon Koffie will be questionable to play in this one due to a knee sprain. Je-Vaughn Watson is favorite to take Koffie’s spot alongside Scott Caldwell if Koffie isn’t match-ready.
The lone-man up top will be 6’3 Kei Kamara. Known for being a constant vertical threat, he is always favorite to notch a goal with his head. Kamara suffered heartbreak in last year’s MLS Cup final with Columbus, and seemed to slide downward from there. Chemistry issues between Kamara and Federico Higuain led to Kamara being shipped off to the Revolution in a sudden trade no one saw coming. Since arriving in New England in mid-May, Kamara has been finding his feet after a slow start after tallying last week against his old team. After Kamara and his new team have finished 2nd best the last two years, they will hope to be a match that can leap over that final hurdle together.