If the Revolution want to return to the U.S. Open Cup Final, the team will have to overcome its poor run of play since the international break. And it will have to do so without several key players.
On Wednesday, the team faces its second test of the tournament when it hosts D.C. United at Harvard University. Kelyn Rowe and Juan Agudelo have already reported for National Team duty. Scott Caldwell isn’t likely to play while battling concussion symptoms. And Antonio Delamea saw a specialist on Monday for his fractured nose. Needless to say, Jay Heaps will need to get a little creative with his Starting XI.
Ahead of the match, our staff offered picks for the formation, lineup and bench. Here’s what we came up with:
Lineup: Knighton; D. Smith, J. Smith, Woodberry, Farrell; Watson; Hollinger-Janzen, Fagundez, Herivaux, Bunbury; Wright
Bench: Turner, Angoua, Tierney, Koffie, Kobayashi, Nguyen, Kamara
League play isn't going particularly well for the Revolution, so I expect most starters will be rested on Wednesday. The squad I put together looks similar to the one that beat the Rochester Rhinos 3-0 with a couple of exceptions. First, I have Je-Vaughn Watson as the lone defensive midfielder since Caldwell is dealing with concussion symptoms. I also have Diego Fagundez playing as the number 10 because Daigo Kobayashi has been sidelined with a hamstring injury. If healthy, I'd expect to see Caldwell and Kobayashi in the starting XI.
Honestly, I'm not thrilled about this lineup. I'd like to give Andrew Farrell the night off, possibly by asking Watson to play right back. I'd also like to see Femi Hollinger-Janzen play as a striker instead of a winger. That said, the Revs are banged up right now and their focus should be on getting healthy for league play.
Formation: 4-4-2 Diamond
Lineup: Knighton; D. Smith, J. Smith, Woodberry, Farrell; Watson, Herivaux, Fagundez, Bunbury; Wright, Femi
Bench: Turner, Tierney, Angoua, Kobayashi, Koffie, Nguyen, Kamara
I'm going to keep the same starting back line from the Rochester win and then I’m going to have to get creative. The Revs midfield is really thin right now depending on the status of Kobayashi and Caldwell. I'll stash Daigo on the bench in case he's needed but the big reinforcements off the bench will depend on the game situation. If the Revs are behind and need more defense you have Gershon Koffie, Benjamin Angoua and Chris Tierney, and then Lee Nguyen and Kei Kamara if you need a goal late.
The wild card for this personnel group is Teal Bunbury. I think you can play him at attacking mid at the top of the diamond, as a winger or a pure striker. Regardless of how the Revs lineup against Philly, I think the offense will run through him especially if he's lined up in the middle. The formation isn't as important, as long as the strikers group of Teal, Femi and Brian Wright have defined roles I think any formation can work. Ideally Fagundez should get a breather in the second half but everyone else should be able to go the full ninety if needed.
Lineup: Knighton; Farrell, J. Smith, Angoua, D. Smith; Herivaux, Koffie; Fagundez, Nguyen, Bunbury; Kamara
Bench: Turner, Woodberry, Tierney, Watson, Kobayashi, Hollinger-Janzen, Wright
After dropping two straight, the Revs need a little pick-me-up. And that means running with a near-first-choice lineup against D.C. United.
In front of Brad Knighton, I would start Josh Smith in place of the injured Delamea and let Donnie Smith continue to earn starts at left back. Donnie, despite his lack of meaningful minutes, still seems like a candidate to contribute in league play. He should continue to go 90 minutes in the Open Cup.
In the midfield, Bunbury deserves at least 60 minutes after a positive showing against Toronto. I'd love to see what he can accomplish pushing forward with Fagundez and Nguyen. Kamara should get a chance to find his form with a start up top.
The Achilles of this lineup is a short bench without a true spark plug. If the Revs go down, Heaps lacks an attacker who can immediately make a difference. But with Rowe and Agudelo away with the National Team, the Revs may need to rely on Tierney’s service and a little magic from Femi to find a late goal.