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Crossing the Touchline: Talking New England Revolution at Columbus Crew SC with Jake Catanese of The Bent Musket

Crew SC welcome the Revs to MAPFRE Stadium. We went behind enemy lines to get some info on what's been eating New England lately.

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

It's a return to Major League Soccer play for Columbus Crew SC, who haven't had a league match since the 1-1 draw with the LA Galaxy a week and a half ago.

That's not to say the Black & Gold haven't been active. The team entered the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup last Wednesday, defeating the Richmond Kickers 3-1 for the first road win of the season and a date with Orlando City SC in the fifth round of the tournament.

For Columbus, a win is needed. It's been six matches without a victory and only one win in eight. Over that stretch, Crew SC fell from one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference to just holding on to the sixth and final playoff spot.

Forward Kei Kamara still leads the league in goals with 10, but he has failed to finish in his last three matches. Attacking midfielders Federico Higuain stepped in the last two matches, scoring in each, but Columbus hopes the rest following the Open Cup match will help the offense return to its early season form.

The good news for the Black & Gold is the New England Revolution enter this match in similar form to Crew SC.

While the Revolution remain in second place in the East, it is due to other teams not getting results more than the Revs playing well. New England also has one win in its last eight matches and fell 1-0 in the Open Cup to the Charlotte Independent last week.

After a 0-0 draw earlier in the season, both teams will look for three points in this contest. The Revolution fell 2-1 to D.C. United on Saturday, so they aren't nearly as fresh as Columbus.

To find out what's been going on with New England since last we saw them, Massive Report talked with Jake Catanese, part of The Bent Musket's "Cavalry."

Questions for The Bent Musket

Massive Report: It's been over three months since the 0-0 snorefest draw between these two teams. For Crew SC fans who haven't watched the Revolution much since then, what's gone on with the club since then?

The Bent Musket: Those days were much happier times, as that draw was sandwiched between five wins during a long unbeaten streak for the Revs after a dismal two-game road trip to start the year. But the Revs are clearly struggling now and haven't been healthy in a while. Jose Goncalves missed time which forced Jermaine Jones into a long stint at center back. Utility defender Darrius Barnes and Jones are out long term leaving the Revs incredibly thin at center back with youngster London Woodberry cementing his status as the starting right back.

It's a typical mid-season/summer swoon for the Revs who have typically dealt with long winless streaks this time of year. And it's not that the Revs are playing terribly, but it's being overshadowed by a number of blown leads. Up 2-0 on the road in Orlando ended up as a draw, a 9-man Revs team held on for a 1-1 draw against D.C. a month ago and then on Sunday they blew a lead at D.C., losing 2-1. This is still a dangerous team but it needs to get healthy and probably needs a signing or two to bolster the backline. With Agudelo and Lee Nguyen not on the USA's initial Gold Cup roster, and while we're disappointed they won't be playing for their country this summer, it does give the Revs an extra boost knowing they'll have their stars for the summer stretch when the club desperately needs them to breakout of this slump.

MR: After a slow start to the season, Charlie Davies has turned things on with seven goals, including a stretch of four-straight matches with a goal. He enters the game with strikes in each of the last two games. What has helped him get going this year and where do you see Davies finishing in the MLS scoring race?

TBM: The rise of Charlie Davies over the last year has been nothing short of amazing to watch. His story is well known at this point, the car accident all those years ago that could've ended his playing career and I don't know if he'll ever be as good or as great as he could have been from his U.S. National Team days back in 2009. But I'll be damned if I don't enjoy watching him try and with his ties to Boston College and New Hampshire, he seems to be more than comfortable playing in New England. There were questions last year about his ability to play 90 minutes and even this year if Juan Agudelo would take his starting spot up top but Davies has been so good that those questions have been more or less answered at this point and he remains the number one option for Jay Heaps at striker.

I clearly think that Davies can win the Revs Golden Boot and lead the team in scoring this season but whether or not he'll keep pace with the league leaders (Kamara 10, Wondolowski 8, Dempsey/Martins/others at 7) depends on how much the Revs have to lean on him for goals. Last year Lee Nguyen was involved in seemingly every goal New England scored but this year it's a little more balanced with players like Agudelo, Rowe, Bunbury and heck, even Scott Caldwell chipping in. If Nguyen finds his scoring touch this year and Davies is the one drawing defenders away from everyone else, it's the same impact as him scoring the goal as far as I'm concerned.

MR: Columbus comes into this game rested, having not played an MLS game since June 13, whereas New England fell to D.C. United this weekend. What impact to do you think the respite for Crew SC or match congestion for the Revs will play in this game?

TBM: I can't lie and say that the match congestion won't be a factor. The Revs are currently in one of their toughest stretches of the season with midweek Open Cup game last week followed by a long road trip to D.C. and now Columbus. But if Jay Heaps does need to rotate his squad a little bit, both Kelyn Rowe and Daigo Kobayashi didn't feature in the D.C. game so they should be ready to go if called on to start. This is clearly penance for catching so many teams earlier in the year on short weeks when they came to New England but it all balances out in the end I think.

Check out Massive Report's answers to The Bent Musket's questions on their site.