The New England Revolution will face Sporting Kansas City tonight in a match that both teams really need to win. Sporting KC needs three points to keep up in the Supporters' Shield race, while the Revs need the points to stay relevant in the playoff hunt.
Head coach Jay Heaps' lineup for the match is curious. Notably, Kevin Alston is making his first start since he was placed on the disabled list for illness months ago, a major development for him in his continued recovery from leukemia. He slots in at left-back, while Chris Tierney moves up to left midfield.
Of course, moving Tierney into the midfield supplants Diego Fagundez, who somehow didn't make it into the starting lineup. Heaps could be trying to save him for late in the match to run against tired legs, or even help him avoid the physical tactics usually employed by the Sky Blues, but it strikes me as odd that he would leave his best player on the bench in the thick of a playoff race.
Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth; Kevin Alston, Jose Goncalves, Stephen McCarthy, Andrew Farrell; Scott Caldwell; Chris Tierney, Kelyn Rowe, Lee Nguyen, Saer Sene; Dimitry Imbongo
Bench: Dorman, Soares, Guy, Reis, Barnes, Fagundez, Barrett
Sporting: Nielsen; Sinovic, Besler, Collin, Myers; Rosell, Feilhaber, Joseph; Bieler, Kamara, Saad
Bench: Peterson, Jerome, Kronberg, Olum, Dwyer, Sapong, Opara