The New England Revolution get their competitive slate back underway Wednesday evening when they take on the Carolina Railhawks away in Open Cup play. On a far grander scale, the Revs are about to undergo a grueling run of matches that will test them on many fronts.
Players will go through various runs of form, Jay Heaps will likely be forced to make some tough lineup decisions, and, perhaps most importantly, maximum points will be paramount. Before all of that takes hold, The Bent Musket's staff is here to share some thoughts on what could be in store.
Between June 15 and July 9, the Revs will play six games. For those keeping count at home, that's a span of 25 days. Quite simply, depth at all positions will be tested and securing maximum points will be of the utmost importance.
During its three-game home stand before the Copa America Centenario break, New England snagged six of a possible nine points. That's a decent haul, but even more consistency will be required to vault the Revs up the table. Add in the fact that four of those six games are away from Gillette Stadium, and the task becomes that much harder.
Can Jay Heaps' squad answer the call? Only time will tell. – Jon Sigal
Andrew Farrell's defensive alignment
Have we seen the last of the Andrew Farrell-Jose Goncalves center back partnership? Against Seattle Sounders FC on May 28, Farrell moved into his familiar right back spot, which he occupied throughout his first two MLS seasons. The results were overwhelmingly positive; he was active on both sides of the ball, taking 70 touches, creating two goal-scoring opportunities and executing seven tackles, all team-highs.
At some point, Heaps will have to start building chemistry along the back line; he hasn't fielded the same back four in consecutive matches since late April, and Chris Tierney didn't appear in either match (April 27 vs. Portland Timbers and April 30 vs. Orlando City). But after Farrell's exceptional return to right back, Heaps appears willing to make the move a long-term adjustment. Will Farrell shift out wide for good? If he does, who will earn the lion's share of starts beside Goncalves? Heaps will have key decisions to make as the summer progresses. – Nick Hemming