Jay Heaps is in a difficult position in this cup clash. The New England Revolution have made it clear that they want to take the US Open Cup seriously, for one, which would require a strong starting lineup against the Rochester Rhinos tonight. However, the Revs are also on a bit of a run in the league, and Heaps needs to keep some legs fresh for Sunday's match against LA. Of course, there's the further layer of having two players available who normally play for Rochester on loan.
Heaps has taken the problem head-on and named a lineup that features a good mix of experience and youth. The positions those players are playing, though, may raise a few eyebrows.
Gabe Latigue will face off against his usual teammates, but instead of playing his usual right-wing position, he'll be lining up in the Revolution defense at right-back. His fellow draft pick Donnie Smith will line up opposite him on the left. A strong midfield featuring Kalifa Cisse and Andy Dorman will support the attacking nous of Kelyn Rowe, while Chad Barrett has earned a rare start, apparently also in midfield.
Finally, Saer Sene will make his first start since tearing his ACL last year, partnering Dimitry Imbongo up top in what appears to be a classic 4-4-2. Matt Reis will also get the start over Shuttleworth in goal.
For their part, the Rhinos appear to have scraped together a full squad for this match, but there are probably a few players on the bench who are there just for show and won't be seeing time as substitutes.
Bench: Soffner, Polak, Tierney, Toja, Bengtson, Farrell
Rhinos: Miller; Earls, Bellamy, Rozeboom, Faga; Reidy, Rosenlund, LaBauex, Knapp; Brettschneider, McFayden
Bench: Nicht, McManus, Kyriazis, Tor, Banks, Tiedt, Duckett