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Five Looming Questions For the New England Revolution
The Revs have six games to come up with answers for these five questions.
The New England Revolution have six regular season games left to play. The team, which currently sits fifth in the Eastern Conference, will undoubtedly make the playoffs, but do they have a chance at winning the MLS Cup?
It’s a difficult question to answer since the Revs are 1-2-2 in their last five outings and recently experienced a coaching staff upheaval.
Here are five questions looming over the Revs during the final stretch of the season.
What Is The Revs’ Best Formation?
The Revs have utilized a 4-3-3 (or 4-2-3-1, if you prefer) in recent weeks, but I’m not sure that’s their best look, especially when Gustavo Bou returns (more on that in a minute).
Furthermore, Giacomo Vrioni tends to play better when working alongside another forward.
Of course, the 4-4-2 has its weaknesses, most notably it forces the defensive midfielder to cover a lot of ground. We all remember what happened in the 2021 playoffs.
The other issue with using this formation is that the Revs don’t have Brandon Bye to provide width on the right side.
Still, I can’t help but think that getting two forwards on the field would be beneficial for a team that’s scored five goals in their last five games.
Here’s what I’m thinking a 4-4-2 would look like:
If the Revs continue to play a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1, does Bou play as a single striker or out wide?
Can The Revs Get And Stay Healthy?
This question has been a constant for the Revs over the last two seasons. Right now, Bou and Henry Kessler are the biggest concerns.
Richie Williams provided an update on Tuesday, Sept. 12, saying, “Gustavo is training and moving along every day now, so he's getting closer. Henry Kessler is actually doing a really good job and hopefully, in a week or two, he'll be back training with the team and getting him back would be really nice.”
This week we got footage of Kessler doing some individual work on the training ground. On Thursday, Peay estimated that Bou is 10-14 days away.
When Bou is healthy, he could play up top or out wide. His ability to shoot from anywhere would be an asset in the playoffs.
An in-form Kessler would likely play alongside Dave Romney in the heart of the defense. This could allow Andrew Farrell to play as a right back, which was his position when he first entered the league.
Speaking of which…
Who Plays Right Back?
Matt Polster has regularly lined up as a right back after Bye suffered a season-ending injury. Polster has done an admirable job, even being named to the MLS Team of the Matchday for Week 29.
But Polster is also an asset when functioning as a holding midfielder. If Kessler returns, we could see Farrell on the right and Jones on the left. Another option is playing Ryan Spaulding or Ben Sweat on the left while Jones operates on the right.
The Revs coaching staff should look to solidify the backline soon so the players can establish chemistry before the post-season.
Can a Revs Striker Get Hot?
The Revs don’t currently have a double-digit goalscorer.
There’s nothing wrong with having a variety of attacking threats. That said, it can be comforting to have a player who consistently finds the back of the net.
Carles Gil currently leads the team with eight tallies. The midfield maestro stated earlier this season that he’s trying to shoot more. This is great but he needs someone else to help carry the load.
Bobby Wood has seven league goals but hasn’t been starting recently. Vrioni has nine tallies in all competitions but he’s been streaky. Bou is the next highest with five, but can he find his form by year’s end?
How Does Clint Peay Affect The Team?
The Clint Peay Era is here, but we don’t exactly know what that means.
During his Wednesday appearance on the Zolak and Bertrand, Peay said, “I have some different ideas and I certainly want to respect, like I said in the past, the DNA of the team.”
With so few games left until the start of the playoffs, I doubt Peay changes too much. I do, however, think we’ll see some tweaks.
One thing that has to happen is that the Revs need to be better at closing out games. The Revs conceded late goals against Austin and Minnesota, in part because they made overly defensive subs. Hopefully, Peay can get his late-game substitutions and tactics right.