Saturday, April 25, 2009

Gameday: Revs meet RSL at Rio Tinto Stadium






New England (4-4-2)

Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, Darrius Barnes, Jay Heaps, Amahi Igwe, Wells Thompson, Shalrie Joseph, Jeff Larentowicz, Sainey Nyassi, Kenny Mansally, Kelly Dube.

Real Salt Lake (4-4-2)

Nick Rimando, Chris Wingert, Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Robbie Russell, Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson, Clint Mathis, Javier Morales, Robbie Findley, Yura Movsisyan.



DOUBTFUL: DF Ian Joy (L hamstring strain);

PROBABLE: DF Nat Borchers (R ankle sprain); DF Robbie Russell (R rotator cuff
surgery) …


OUT: DF Chris Albright (L knee meniscus tear); DF Kevin Alston (R hamstring strain); DF Gabriel Badilla (lower back sprain); MF Mauricio Castro (L hamstring strain); FW Taylor Twellman (neck pain);

QUESTIONABLE: FW Kheli Dube (R knee pain);

PROBABLE: MF Jeff Larentowicz (R hip impingement); MF Steve Ralston (R
adductor strain); GK Matt Reis (R knee inflammation)

Position breakdown:

Goalkeeping: Matt Reis will be back in action for New England after being injured for the last couple of weeks. Nick Rimando hasn’t been spectacular, but hasn’t made a ton of mistakes. Reis may be a bit rusty, keeping this one a closer battle: ADVANTAGE: DRAW

Defenders: The Revs have only given 3 goals in 4 games despite playing 3 of those on the road. However there are some concerns about the back four. Lucky for the Revs Shalrie Joseph and Jeff Larentowicz patrol the midfield and make the defense as a whole rather stout. Real comes off of their worst defensive performance against NYRB last week with David Horst in the mix for Jamison Olave. With Olave’s return and playing at home, I expect a much better performance, but RSL has still given up twice as many goals as the Revs this season. However, on the basis of the back four alone, RSL should outshine the Revs. ADVANTAGE: RSL

Midfielders: Shalrie Joseph is phenomenal. Jeff Larentowicz is quietly effective. But the midfield is the heart of RSL’s team as well. Playing at home, I would expect Mathis/Johnson/Morales to play a strong attacking style, with Beckerman holding down the fort in the back. Steve Ralston will sorely be missed by the Revs in the middle. ADVANTAGE: RSL

Forwards: Another injury takes away a potential advantage here for the Revs as they are missing Taylor Twellman who appears to have a serious vertebrae issue that he’s dealing with. In his absence we’ll see Kelly Dube and Kenny Mansally. Both decent players, but they don’t strike the fear in the opposing team that Twellman does. RSL has seen their forwards shutout with the exception of Robbie Findley’s hat-trick two weeks ago. ADVANTAGE: DRAW

Intangibles: Playing at home has been a big advantage for RSL this season. On the other hand, the Rev’s have proven comfortable on the road. Because of injuries, the talent seems to be leaning in RSL’s favor, but the Rev’s have a knack for getting results even when they shouldn’t. Home field trumps all. ADVANTAGE: RSL

Although the Rev’s get Reis back in net this week, they are still dealing with injury issues. In fact, they travelled with 3 keepers and are still only able to have 17 players available for tonight. RSL’s home dominance should carry them through, but this is no gimme against a very capable Rev’s team. My bet: 2-1 RSL