Know Your Enemy: New England Revolution
So it appears that my blog performance on the Fire/Union game was good enough to warrant yours truly a regular spot in this august publication…
From here on out, I’ll be doing the breakdown of the Fire’s upcoming opponent. I’ve seen most of the league from the stands at PPL Park over the past couple of years, so hopefully I’ll have some searing insight that will give you Chicagoans an idea of what to expect of the Fire’s opponents.
I’ve already made my mark on this section by changing it’s name. So long “Know Your Opponent” — hello “Know Your Enemy”.
Revenge, they say, is a dish best served at home. “They” don’t really say that. Who are “they” anyway? I digress. This week, the Men in Red will look to get three points back from their Eastern Conference rivals New England Revolution after a dismal 0-2 loss at a soaking wet Foxboro Stadium in early June. The lowly Revs (6-12-5) sit second from bottom in the East, tied on points with Philly but having played two more games. This a “should win” for Chicago that will further solidify a Chicago spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
New England’s last win was July 8 (vs. NYRB) and since then have lost at home to Toronto, Sporting KC, and Montreal, and lost away to Philly and Montreal. During that stretch they also drew with KC, their only good result as of late.
When New England came to Philly, they didn’t play poorly and were a bit screwed by the ref who called a penalty that shouldn’t have been. Nonetheless, I’m here to tell you about New England, so here come the bullets…
- New England will probably play a basic 4-4-2 with Saer Sene and new man Jerry Bengtson up top. The outside midfielders look to cut inside, Benny Feilhaber does the majority of the playmaking, and defensively they are well-organized.
- After a fine career with the Revs (sidenote: what a stupid nickname), Jay Heaps is now the coach. Hard to judge a guy in his first year, but he already has the “go ballistic on the sidelines” part of the job down pat. After the aforementioned crap PK call vs. Philly, he went completely apeshit – more than any coach I have ever seen in my life. It was pretty awesome to watch.
- With that in mind, Jay Heaps is probably the most intense guy on the New England team. This is why they suck.
- Saer Sene is big, fast and looks dangerous. Unfortunately his right foot is non-functional. He likes to get the ball on the right, take on a defender and cut into the middle onto his stronger, i.e. only, foot.
- Benny Feilhaber looks good but if he’s pressed in midfield, his impact on the game lessens. Without Logan Pause, the Fire need to find someone to do the dirty work in the center of the park. And if Frank Klopas isn’t inclined to make a tactical shift, that man will probably be Daniel Paladini.
- Lee Nguyen is busy but often lacks end product. He’ll have a moment or two in the game but Fire fans need not be scared.
- Jerry Bengtson is the new man and back from good work at the Olympics with Honduras. Keep an eye to see if he’s fresh after a lot of travel – including an international friendly in Miami this Wednesday.
- AJ Soares was very close to being red-carded vs. Philly. He’s not very quick so he fouls. I predict he’ll either be red carded or subbed early (to prevent the red card) this weekend.
- Third-year MF Zak Boggs quit New England this week to go to England. Not to play soccer, but rather to study on a Fulbright Scholarship. That’s how dead-end this team is. He’d rather bury his head in books than play for the Revolution.
- I’d like to see 17-year-old Diego Fagundez hit the pitch, but he hasn’t been getting much playing time at all.
Finally, there’s a constant complaint about the New England club from fans and MLS watchers that the ownership is cheap and doesn’t care about the team. Having done a bit of research on them for this post, I have to agree. The Revs shouldn’t be playing in Foxboro, they have zero players of note (maybe Feilhaber counts), and even their website shows a complete lack of giving a shit. One of the main stories on their website was some recap of a prizefight headlined by “Irish” Danny O’Connor at Gillette Stadium.
When you head to Toyota Park this weekend Fire fans, have a few extra drinks before going inside because Chicago should win quite easily and it’ll be a party. Best of luck and go Philadelphia Union! Don’t forget, we’re brothers-in-arms now.