Vancouver is coming off of a draw Wednesday night against San Jose. Whether that result is dropped points at home or a respectable first year result might be dependent on how well San Jose was playing. Both teams have some quality MLS players on their roster but haven't featured lineups with established chemistry. New England has chemistry issues of their own with injuries, suspensions, and late additions already this season.
Jonah Friedman eloquently pointed out in the MLSsoccer.com article that Vancouver has a chance to be one of, if not the first, team to win three time zones away from home base. Vancouver will walk into Gillette Stadium three days after playing. Will they play to win, look to counter, or build some attacks? The brief reading I took in suggested that Chumiento, Wednesday's goal scorer was really their only creative player. Jay Demerit's return to action against San Jose has to benefit their back line.
New England has brought home points from a trip across three time zones once this season. New England has earned lots of experiences this season. It would be interesting to examine which defensive line ups earned which results so far this season. Coria and Soares should man the middle in front of Matt Reis and just behind McCarthy. Kevin Alston will continue playing outside, though Domi has another knock and will likely be out.
If they play to their potential, the Revs should be able to weather any early onslaughts and generate scoring opportunities. Last week's experiment with Benny Feilhaber on the wing ended with him back in the middle of our lineup. I suspect that Stevie and the rest of the coaching staff will continue to tinker around the edges of the lineup. Shalrie Joseph will join Benny in the middle, but I won't predict who could see time on the wings. It could be any combination of Nyassi, Boggs, Mansally, or others. I'm confident, though, that Lekic will run out up top and hope, along with the rest of us, that he receives better service than last week.
The Revs were able to improve their possession last week. Ousmane Dabo is out inured again after only one US Open Cup play-in game and one league game. His absence could result in more hurried and harried play. Without his calm, deliberate, and accurate passing we might see more turnovers from New England.
I was happy to read that both Steve Nicol and Mike Burns watched mid-week action live in Europe as they scouted a creative player who has "lead his national team in goals scored." Whoever he is, he can't get here soon enough. C'mon summer transfer window!
I suspect that the Whitecaps will be a bit tired after two ties to start this stretch of three games in seven days that will conclude for them Saturday night. I predict a New England win, though, I'm reluctant to say they will score a bunch. I'm hoping to see lots of celebrations followed by the Gillette Stadium minute men firing off their muskets.
(image courtesy of revolutionsoccer.net)