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Revolution vs. Toronto FC: Storylines to follow in week 17

Can the Revs exploit a second-choice Toronto lineup? That, and three other headlines to track.

MLS: Toronto FC at New England Revolution Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Three weeks ago, the Revolution earned a statement win over Toronto FC, scoring early and often en route to a 3-0 victory. Tonight, the Revs will look for a repeat performance against the Reds, who have yet to lose at home.

Here are four storylines to follow ahead of the match:

1. Can the Revs exploit a reserve-heavy Toronto lineup?

On Wednesday night, Greg Vanney selected a first-choice Starting XI for Toronto’s Canadian Championship match against the Montreal Impact. With less than 48 hours to recover, his team should look a bit different tonight, with several reserves likely to see significant minutes. That means the Revolution will face a second-choice Toronto lineup for the second time this season, as Vanney’s team played without Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore during its first matchup with the Revs.

Bradley will again miss tonight’s match (yellow card accumulation) and Altidore isn’t likely to start after playing 90 minutes on Wednesday. Can the Revs take advantage?

2. Will Juan Agudelo finally start?

An “upper extremity” injury forced Agudelo to miss two consecutive matches in early May, though he returned at the end of the month during a short substitute appearance. One week later, the Colombian-born forward scored a goal and added an assist during a 3-0 win over Toronto.

All signs point toward a healthy Agudelo. Yet surprisingly, he hasn’t earned a start since returning to the gameday 18. Does Agudelo need more time to recover? Or is Heaps simply being cautious with his star forward?

Either way, the Revs need more minutes from Agudelo, who has already tied his career high for goals in a season (seven).

3. How will Jay Heaps arrange his Starting XI?

During Saturday’s loss to the Chicago Fire, Heaps tinkered with several different formations. He started in a 4-2-3-1, transitioned to a 4-4-2 and finished in a 3-5-2. This approach served as something of a surprise, as Heaps rarely makes significant formation changes on the fly.

Now, Heaps has a decision to make. Does he opt for the 3-5-2? Or stick with his fluid approach and adapt to what he sees in the first 30 minutes?

In all likelihood, Heaps will start in a 4-2-3-1 and let the flow of the match dictate his next move. But he surprised fans last week—and he could surprise fans again tonight.

4. Can the Revs keep rolling against the Reds?

Despite Toronto’s success in recent years, the Revolution have actually gotten the better of the Canadian-based club. In the past 10 meetings between the two teams, the Revs have lost just once, earning a 6-1-3 record. Of course, that trend continued this year, when goals from Agudelo, Benjamin Angoua and Diego Fagundez powered the Revs to a win.

To maintain this trend, the Revs will need to do something no team has done this season: leave BMO field with a win. Are the visitors up for the challenge?