Barbecues, parades, fireworks, hurricanes (on the East Coast at least), and New England Revolution soccer. That's what the Fourth of July is all about, and it's fitting that a team playing in red, white and blue, called the Revolution, from the birthplace of America, will be in action on Independence Day. GIVE ME THREE POINTS OR GIVE ME DEATH.
TBM: RSL started out with that long unbeaten run, but towards the end, it became a bit of a run of draws. Now they're winless in the league since May 17th. What changed, or did you see this coming even early on?
RS: RSL fans always expect wins or at least ties, which is a good thing because they have come to expect results both at home and on the road. A few of the RSL staff warned us that RSL would be harmed more than any other MLS club by the World Cup call-ups, but with RSL being such a deep team I think we all expected a bit more. Between the call-ups and the congested schedule, Salt Lake has struggled of late. It will definitely help to have a stretch of home games and the return of Beckerman and Rimando to get some positive momentum again.
TBM: Kyle Beckerman is coming back from a pretty respectable World Cup performance. How do you think the experience will affect his play, and will we see him on Friday, or do you think he gets a rest?
RS: My best guess is that he will not feature on Friday since he is probably going to be tired from travel and a rigorous World Cup training schedule. When he does return, however, I expect him to be full of confidence and leading this club back to a streak of good results. He has been undervalued for a very long time on the international scene and I think his great performances will have vindicated what us fans have known for a long time. Kyle Beckerman has continued to improve ever since he came to Salt Lake City and I expect him to be a even a bit better after this experience.
TBM: Friday is July 4th. Do you really think RSL can contend with a team called the Revolution, from New England, on the anniversary of our nation's independence?
RS: As the Revolution likely have the Founding Fathers on their side, I think RSL will struggle mightily.
TBM: Give us an under-the-radar player Revs fans should watch out for in this match
RS: I'm not so sure that he is under the radar any more, but Joao Plata is having a fantastic season so far. Before RSL's downturn, there was talk that Plata should be in the MVP conversation. He is by far the most threatening weapon for RSL at the moment.
TBM: Finally, let's have your projected starting XI and scoreline prediction.
RS: Attinella, Wingert, Schuler, Borchers, Beltran, Stertzer, Grabavoy, Gil, Morales, Findley, Plata.
I predict a 2-2 scoreline.