When the New England Revolution enter Sporting Park on Wednesday night, a depleted Sporting Kansas City team will be waiting. Stalwarts such as Chance Myers, Ike Opara, Graham Zusi, and Seth Sinovic are all expected to miss out on the encounter, but that in no way means SKC pose a diminished threat.
Peter Vermes' team currently sits in the sixth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and, due to its high pressure tactics, has the ability to make a run up the table as the season progresses. Mindful of all of that, here are three areas that the Revs should be tactically mindful of.
1.) The Brit: Dom Dwyer scored 24 goals across all competitions last year for SKC and hasn't missed a beat in spearheading his team's attack in 2015. He has only scored three goals and added one assist so far this year, but is still the man his teammates lean on when the ball gets into the attacking third.
As the above video shows, Dwyer has incredible instincts when in the box. He knows how to drift into space off the defender's shoulder and only needs a small bit of space to finish when the opportunity arises. And that goal comes against Kofi Opare and Bobby Boswell, both of whom have been some of the better center-backs in MLS this year.
Now, Jose Goncalves and Andrew Farrell should hold their own against SKC's number 14, but he still poses a considerable threat that the duo will need to be mindful of.
2.) Benny and the Jets: For years now, Vermes has opted for a trio of central midfielders, all of whom are tasked with running wild through the center of the park. It's a hard system to play in and it demands a lot of whoever is placed in that role.
However, Benny Feilhaber has thrived in it during 2015. He was named MLS' Player of the Month in April and has been one of the best midfielders in the league as a whole according to several members of the media. Scott Caldwell and Jermaine Jones have every ability to shut Feilhaber down, but the former Rev has the talent, form, and potential to take over Wednesday's game.
Situated behind Feilhaber in SKC's midfield is another player in fine form: Soni Mustivar. The Haitian international occupies the space in front of SKC's back-line and provides the balance and bite in midfield that has been missing since Oriol Rosell's departure.
3.) The Surprise: SKC made a number of shrewd acquisitions during the offseason and none is proving to be more effective than that of Jalil Anibaba. Although not as high profile as other signings, the defender has made the right-back spot his under Vermes' tutelage.
He has one assist and one goal for his new team, but more importantly has made it very difficult for opposing wingers to find success down his touchline. Whether it is Teal Bunbury, Juan Agudelo, Kelyn Rowe, or Diego Fagundez out wide, they all have a considerable challenge ahead of them.