The New England Revolution are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with 24 points through 19 games. They are just a single point ahead of the Crew in the conference standings and in the race for a playoff spot. Tonight is an important game.
The Lineup: Warzycha has made some interesting choices with the lineup lately. He's used Aaron Schoenfeld as a right winger where he can't effectively use his height and his lack of speed is most noticeable. Ben Speas has gotten minutes in recent matches and may be ready to replace Schoenfeld, a forward, with Speas, a winger.
Gruenebaum; Williams, O'Rourke, Marshall, Barson; Sanchez, Trapp; Anor, Higuain, Speas; Oduro
Crew on Offense: Head Coach Robert Warzycha has shifted the team around a little, moving to a self proclaimed 4-3-3. It has looked like a 4-2-3-1 or even a 4-6-0 at times, but the team has still struggled to score.
Warzycha has added more ball playing talent to the lineup. Bernardo Anor and Wil Trapp make the right decision more often than not. The addition of Speas would add another savvy player to the lineup surrounding Higuain. Columbus now has more talent to play through the midfield.
With the change of the formation and personnel, Columbus is trying to play a little less direct, but older habits die hard. The back line will have to work to play quick outlets to the midfield rather than taking the safe route and booting the ball forward. This team isn't built to chase, but they have talent to counter at speed.
Crew on Defense: Things are settling on the back line. Chad Marshall has locked down so many strikers so far this year now that he's healthy. He has a trusted partner in Danny O'Rourke. Josh Marshall has returned to the right and has performed well. Chad Barson is the settled option on the left despite rookie inconsistencies. They have the talent to shut down Jerry Bengtson and company.
The key question remains who starts as the screener ahead of them. Matias Sanchez has the talent, but his temperament has let him down. Tony Tchani and Konrad Warzycha aren't true holding midfielders. Agustin Viana may be the answer, but hasn't returned to full fitness. This player will have to keep track of Juan Toja and Lee Nguyen. Both players can spring from midfield to add extra punch.
Final Walkthrough: The Crew are well rested. They are reasonably healthy. The Revs played in Colorado on Wednesday. They are missing Juan Agudelo and Stephen McCarthy, Saer Sene, and
Chris Tierney are nursing injuries. This is a must win if the Crew want to go to the playoffs.
New England 0 - Crew 2