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Previewing the Columbus Crew at the New England Revolution with Seth Macomber of The Bent Musket

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It's only been two weeks since these teams last saw each other, but we still wanted to find out some inside information on what's going on with the Revolution.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Crew fought for an important 1-0 win over the New England Revolution two weeks ago at Columbus Crew Stadium. Now the Black and Gold battle the Revolution once again, this time in Boston.

The Crew followed up the New England game with a 2-0 victory over the Montreal Impact last week, getting off to a fast start courtesy of a second minute Ethan Finlay goal.

The Revolution travelled to Sporting Kansas City for another Eastern Conference clash. After being up 2-0 at halftime, New England allowed two quick goals to Sporting before stealing a 3-2 win late in the game.

This will be another tight battle as both teams look to improve their playoff chances late in the season.

Questions for The Bent Musket

Massive Report: The Revolution sit in second in the Eastern Conference, but are only 5 points ahead of the sixth place Toronto FC who have a game in hand. How secure does the team feel of making the playoffs? Are the fans thinking the same way?

The Bent Musket: Jay Heaps' approach has always been to take the season one game at a time. The gaffer is generally reserved after wins and reflective after loses. That having been said, Heaps and his players are well aware that they're on the brink of making the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

The good news for the Revolution is that the team has finished strong since Heaps became head coach in 2012. In his first year in charge, Heaps finished 2-2-0 with the two victories capping the season. Last year, the Revs were 3-0-1, which helped the team earn a postseason seat.

The fans are pretty optimistic about making the playoffs since the team is playing well. The Revs have a favorable schedule, which includes home games against the Columbus Crew and Toronto FC as well as away fixtures against the Montreal Impact and the Houston Dynamo.

MR: Tell me about Lee Nguyen. He continues to put up very good numbers but with little publicity. What does he do that makes him special? How has he helped carry New England this year?

TBM: Lee Nguyen is having a career year, and it's been fun to watch. The midfielder signed a new contract in the offseason and has shown that he's worth every penny by contributing 13 goals and five assists so far. The Revs rely heavily on Nguyen which is evident by the fact that the team is 9-1-1 when he scores and 5-0-0 when he collects an assist.

The publicity for Nguyen is out there but it's muted because the Revolution aren't a big market franchise. There has been talk that Nguyen should be a MLS MVP candidate and that he should be on Jurgen Klinsmann's radar. The Texan was recently named as a nominee for September's MLS Player of the Month award.

Has Nguyen been getting attention from the media? Yes. Should he be getting more? Yes.

MR: Jermaine Jones came off the bench when these teams last met in Columbus, but played a full 90 minutes against Sporting Kansas City last weekend, grabbing the game winner in World Cup-like fashion. How different are the Revolution when he is on the field and should Crew fans expect to see him out there for the duration in this match?

TBM: Jermaine Jones has been outstanding since signing with the Revs. The Designated Player has offered a goal and three assists in six appearances. Perhaps more impressively, the Revs are 4-0-0 when Jones is in the starting lineup.

Fortunately for Columbus, Jones was probably at his worst when he made his inaugural MLS appearance at Crew Stadium. The midfielder was carrying a knock after playing Calum Mallace and the Impact, so he wasn't at full health. When he is, however, Jones is a general in the center of the park that makes crucial defensive tackles and smart attacking passes. Jones' passion is undeniable and it's clear that he wants to win each and every game. From all accounts, Jones is ready to contribute a full a 90 on Saturday.

Questions for Massive Report

The Bent Musket: Justin Meram and Ethan Finlay are two guys that haven't done much in MLS before this year. What has led to their success and can they sustain it?

Massive Report: The success has come from the transition in styles between former head coach Robert Warzycha and current boss Gregg Berhalter. In the new system, the outside backs are expected to get forward and provide the width, while the "wingers" really pinch in and get involved in the attack in different ways. You still see Meram and Finlay crossing the ball from time to time, but Meram is often playing almost like a second forward when Federico Higuain vacates the space, and Finlay is consistently looking to get the ball in behind the defense with an eye for goal.

That is the biggest reason, but both of these players have come into their own a little bit this year as well. With Meram in his fourth year and Finlay in his third, it was time for them to produce at the professional level. Both came into the league with a goal scoring pedigree, but are finally producing in MLS this season.

TBM: All four of Federico Higuain's free kick goals in MLS have come against the Revs. Were the two goals that the Argentine put past Bobby Shuttleworth this year untouchable beauties or could the goalkeeper have done better?

MR: I went back and looked at both goals again and they both were as nice as I remember them. The first one, I'm not sure any MLS keeper stops and it would be hard to find a goalkeeper in the world that can make that save. Maybe Manuel Neuer with his large frame and incredible reaction time, but that was hit about as good as possible. On the second dead ball strike, Shuttleworth might have had a chance. The announcer on the replay even suggested he may have been a bit too far to his right and that was my thought as well. It was certainly a well taken free kick and difficult to save, but I think Bobby may have had a shot at it.

TBM: With only four games left in the season, the Crew's playoff spot is in limbo. How important is Saturday's game in regards to securing a postseason seat?

MR: The coaches and players have been saying since 10 games out that every game is a final. This has worked out well with the team's current run of form, but I doubt they would say anything different this week. This game is big for both teams because of how close everyone is in the standings and how important positioning could be come the playoffs. The Black and Gold need to continue to get points in order to keep distance from New York and Philadelphia and ideally move up the standings further.

If I were going to rank their last four matches in order of importance of results, I would say it goes home against the Philadelphia Union on the final day of the season, at the Union next weekend, at the New York Red Bulls, and then this game. So if there is a game to lose, it's probably this one but the team really can't afford a loss in any of these if they want to assure themselves a spot in the post season for the first time since 2011.