New England has been one of the best teams in MLS so far and really seemed to be humming along before the break. Do you think the World Cup break will hurt or help the Revolution?
I think it's a bit of a help, since it gave the guys some welcome time off to nurse niggling injuries and regroup, especially after dropping their last two MLS results going into the break. It also helped having those two Open Cup matches. Picking up those two victories will create a sense of momentum going back into MLS play.
The break is also important because the Revs will play something like 7 matches at a minimum in July. This is going to be one of the toughest schedule sequences New England has faced for as long as I can remember. A good 20 days off allows the club to gear up and get fit before they kill themselves in the next month or so. Midsummer won't be fun for the Revs.
Our clubs will face off on Saturday and then again on Tuesday July 8 in the US Open Cup Quarterfinals. How big of a priority is the US Open Cup for the Revolution?
The Revs have taken it seriously so far, as they did in 2013. Obviously it's not up to the level of the league, and for that reason there may be a drop-off in focus on the 8th that the Union could possibly exploit. However, Jay Heaps' use of his considerable depth in the last two matches is not an indication of a lackadaisical attitude toward the competition, rather it's a show of faith in the fringe players on the Revs' roster. I think now that the Revs are in the quarters and they're facing MLS competition, the lineups that we see in those matches will start to feature more regular starters than, say, Wednesday's match against Rochester.
Jerry Bengtson didn't have the best run of form with Honduras in the World Cup, failing to get on the scoresheet as Honduras went 0-3-0 in the tournament. How do you think that will effect him going forward?
It makes him worth less money in a post-Cup transfer. That's the biggest disappointment. At this juncture, it's unlikely that the Revs are looking for anything out of Jerry other than a good sale price, and now, like so many sitters and point-blank finishes, he's found a way to screw that up, too. Jerry won't get much time (though he might in the Open Cup) and, at this point, I think the Revs take what they can get for him if an offer comes in.
Tell the Philadelphia Union fans something we should know going into this match.
Kelyn Rowe is absolutely bursting to be re-introduced into the starting lineup, and he took his opportunity against Rochester in both hands. The kid looked sharp, and could probably have had one or two more goals if some bounces had fell more his way. We may be starting to see the Kelyn Rowe of 2013 who torched defenses, scored from distance, and created goals at will. That said, you'll probably still see a healthy dose of Daigo Kobayashi, and the team's style of play changes dramatically depending on who is in the lineup at that moment. If you see Rowe, expect a lot of attempted killer balls and look to see him break forward into the box for scoring opportunities. If you see Daigo, you'll instead see Lee Nguyen become the total centerpiece, with Daigo playing facilitator in possession between the tiers of midfield.
Predicted Starting XI: Bobby Shuttleworth; Chris Tierney, José Gonçalves, A. J. Soares, Andrew Farrell; Andy Dorman; Diego Fagúndez, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, Teal Bunbury; Patrick Mullins
Score Prediction: I predict a 3-2 win. I'm still worried about the solidity of this defense, but I think the offense will get its spark back, and the Revs are usually pretty effective at home.