Dimitry Imbongo needs to be somewhere on Saturday that is nowhere near Gillette Stadium and the Houston Dynamo.
Because I am terrified that if he's on the field this weekend, that Imbongo will see someone wearing Orange, player or fan, and then elbow them in the face. And statistics show that in 2013 he's 2-for-2 in getting red cards against Houston so I'm not just making this up.
So the New England Revolution need to find a way to keep him off the field. Perhaps they can talk to Bill Bellichek about how to add extra players to the injury report, he works in the same building. Or maybe Saer Sene can give him some driving tips and point out speed traps heading into Gillette Stadium. Or send him out to get pizza and say he broke his arm in a car accident.
Ok, that last one was an unprovoked shot at Detroit Lions WR Nate Burleson (who's on IR in my ESPN fantasy team...), but in all seriousness, my original point stands: Dimitry Imbongo shouldn't be on the field Saturday.
This is essentially a playoff game for the Revs now, as any dropped points at home the rest of the way could spell disaster for the Revs hopes at staying above the red line in 5th place. And I know he's been on his best behavior of late, Imbongo even had his yellow card total for the season reduced by MLS from four to three on the good behavior initiative by going three games in a row without getting carded. And his play on the field has been incredibly solid, especially his hold up play.
But this weekend, if I were Jay Heaps, I wouldn't take that chance. I would keep him off the field and probably off the gameday roster just to avoid the distraction or the potential for an incident. Imbongo has proven that, at least against the very physical Dynamo, that he can't keep his actions and/or emotions in check and he's a liability waiting to happen. Jay Heaps can't risk him picking up a red card and losing to both Houston and New York with Imbongo on suspension. And the Revs are certainly not short on attacking options. So if Imbongo isn't at the lone striker spot, what can the Revs do?
OPTION 1 - Juan Agudelo, Jerry Bengtson, Chad Barrett, Charlie Davies at striker (in that order).
Now, this option is on the condition that Adugelo is healthy enough to start, but bringing him in off the bench in the second half is a pretty dangerous sub on the bench, though Agudelo hasn't impressed all the time off the bench. If Agudelo isn't starting then I'd be perfectly okay with either Jerry or Barrett starting up top. Yes, Barrett has been spending too much time at right mid and Jerry, well, he did play last week so, there's that. But I trust both of those guys to put in a good 60-70 minute, hardworking shift at a minimum. Sadly, I don't think this is the game to throw Charlie Davies into the fire. But if the Revs are going to make a straight switch up top, there's a lot of players who are capable of stepping in.
OPTION 2 - Saer Sene up top, Diego to LM, Barrett to RM.
The Revs have deployed this lineup before, and with Ryan Guy still on the injury report, there's not a lot of wide midfield options for the Revs. If would give Jay Heaps the option to move Sene back to the wing midfield spot by adding another striker later or putting Agudelo out wide off the bench. Barrett is going to be his usual box-to-box hardworking self out wide, even if he's out of position.
OPTION 3 - Saer Sene up top, Chris Tierney to LM, Kevin Alston/Darrius Barnes/O'Brian Woodbine to LB.
Okay, bear with me here I'm not entirely crazy. Obviously Sene still goes up top but this time Tierney does spot duty at left mid, which he's done once so far this season on July 20 vs. Columbus, a late 2-0 win for the Revs. On that day Darrius Barnes deputized at left back but the Revs are deeper at the position now with the return of Alston from illness and the signing of Woodbine. Tierney's been putting a lot of services into the box lately, so it's not the worst idea to move him back into the midfield for a spot start. And just so Steve doesn't throw anything at me, yes, I know his best position is at left back, it's one game, cut me some slack. If he's on the left side Diego will have to stay on the right and I'll complain less in the live thread.
In reality, if Juan Agudelo is healthy enough to start and go 60 mintues, he should start. Whether it's up top or out wide on the left wing, the Revs are a different team with him on the field. And in a must win game, against Houston no less, with the playoffs on the line, 60 minutes of Agudelo is better than nothing. The Revs have more than enough options on the bench to cover the last half hour of the game if necessary.
Just as long as one of them is not Dimitry Imbongo.
Because as much as praise as we can give him for his performances of late, we gave him just as much criticism for his inability to stay on the field earlier. And the Revs can't afford to put themselves behind the proverbial eight-ball in the middle of a playoff race. The have to do the sensible thing this weekend.
Don't let Imbongo see orange (or red) on Saturday.
More from The Bent Musket:
- Breakers Off-Season Report: Projecting the 2014 Roster
- The 3rd Yellow - Revolution vs. DC United: Revs Actually Scored a Penalty Kick
- Revolution 2-1 United: Player Ratings and Man of the Match, Game Three
- New England 2, D.C. United 1: Revs Rally in Second Half to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive
- MLS Playoffs 2013: Analyzing the Revolution's Schedule and Chances in the East