Matt Ralph: So should we expect Lee Nguyen in the starting lineup on Saturday? What’s the latest on that saga and what impact do you think it has had on the team heading into the start of the season?
Jake Catanese: I would not expect Lee in the starting lineup based on the fact he’s been mainly doing condition during Revs practices and didn’t play a minute in preseason games. As far as the latest, it’s pretty much the same that it has always been - Lee wanted a trade, he’s not going to get it, so he held out for a few weeks in preseason. It doesn’t seem to have much of an impact in the locker room, as the team was pretty understanding of the business side of things based on quotes earlier in the week.
As far as on the field, Diego Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe are the candidates to replace Nguyen as the CAM in the Revs formation. Fagundez saw the bulk of the time in preseason at the spot, and combined well with newcomer Cristian Penilla. However, I think Rowe is the better long term option at the position so we’ll see what Friedel does if the Nguyen situation doesn’t get resolved soon.
Matt Ralph: New England and Philadelphia met in the recent Super Bowl won by the Philadelphia Eagles. Is it even fair to use the word super lowercased in discussing this game between two teams that didn’t even qualify for the MLS playoffs last year? Is there any semblance of revenge riding on this fixture for New England fans?
Jake Catanese: Well, this might not be a super game at the end of the day if we’re going on the quality of soccer but you never know, stranger things have happened. As far as Super Bowl revenge games, this probably ranks second behind Atlanta United drubbing us 7-0 last year. Arthur Blank owns the Falcons so that might be more of a thing for Revs/Patriots fans or Falcons fans after SB51.
If you’re asking about the revenge factor it might be best to actually ask a Patriots fan, cause I’ve been singing Fly Eagles Fly for the past month and I regret nothing.
Matt Ralph: New England beat the Union by three points in the standings last season. Do you think these teams are going to be fighting over that best of the rest spot again this season?
Jake Catanese: I’m not sure how much better either of us got compared the rest of the East, so games like this against teams that were fighting for that 6th spot last year could be very important later in the season this year. If the Revs or Union are going to make the playoffs, these are the kinds of games and opponents they need to get wins from, especially the Revs, who were dismal on the road last year.
If we’re being honest, both Philly and New England are likely well behind Toronto, NYCFC, Atlanta and maybe even Orlando after their offseason. That means we’re going to be fighting with Columbus, RBNY and Chicago for that last spot and that’s already close to nine teams fighting for just six spots. Several teams are going to be disappointed come December and I don’t think we can be that surprised if both of our teams are on the outside looking in at the end of the season.
For more on the New England Revolution, visit www.thebentmusket.com.