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Know Thy Enemy: Revs-RBNY Midweek Extravaganza

The Revs are limping into the Gold Cup break while the Red Bulls have won only two of their last eight...can one of these two teams get back above the red line?

MLS: New England Revolution at New York Red Bulls Chris Bergmann-USA TODAY Sports

If there was ever a time for the New England Revolution to get a couple weeks off, the Gold Cup should be a blessing.

But before that wonderful MLS vacation, we have to deal with the horrible person at the league office who scheduled a midweek Wednesday night game for the Revs against the New York Red Bulls. This is the second time the Revs will play a New York team midweek having travelled to Yankee Stadium earlier in the year. This is a terrible job by who ever creates the schedule by ruining good turnout for rivalry games by putting them midweek.

But I digress from that tangent to deal with the Revs on the field who have not been good lately. Losers of three straight, short-handed by injuries and international call-ups the Revs desperately need to end the proverbial first half of the year with a big home win. Whether or not a less than ideal first team lineup can pull that off on a short week remains to be seen.

This week we chat with Jonathan Machlin of Once A Metro and try to figure out if either of these two teams are worthy of a playoff run. Then there’s that pesky USOC quarterfinal coming up as well. Be sure to head over to their site for my answers to their questions.

TBM: The Revs and Red Bulls are going to meet in the USOC quarterfinals, and it's unlikely the Revs will make the playoffs barring a massive turnaround. That being said, is RBNY a playoff team and does going one and done as a 5th or 6th seed really count as a playoff appearance?

JM: Well, anytime you're in a Do-Or-Die game, even at the end of the regular season, it has that playoff game atmosphere. Losing a game like that always hurts a lot, and the pain of a loss like that sometimes spills over into the next season. That said, in their current form the Red Bulls seem like a one-and-done team at best. But unless the Red Bulls somehow win the USOC and secure a spot in the 2019 Champions League, a lot of heads will roll if the team gets knocked out of the playoffs that early.

TBM: Dax McCarty isn't walking through that door...I don't want to say RBNY has lost that trade but talk about how the midfield is doing currently without Dax in the middle.

JM: Prior to the trade there was a serious logjam at defensive midfielder - you had Dax and Felipe, who were the starters last year, as well as highly-touted HGPs Sean Davis and AmeriKante. There was only room for three of those guys on the team and Jesse Marsch decided that Dax's best days had past and traded him, making the defensive midfield role Sean Davis's job to lose.

Unfortunately, Davis lost the job to “AmeriKante” [that’s Tyler Adams for the RBNY uninitiated] fairly quickly as a result of his poor play and Felipe hasn't been anywhere near the contributor on the attack that he was last year. In the high press, the midfield has to be able to control the ball and take shot after shot after shot until they get a goal. With none of the defensive midfielders contributing in either possession or shooting, the team is less effective.

TBM: Bradley Wright-Phillips scores a lot and Sacha Kljestan assists alot...who else needs to step up for RBNY to get the offense going especially now with Mike Grella done for the year.

JM: Maybe last year Sacha Kljestan assisted a lot, but he hasn't this year. In fact, myself and many Red Bulls fans would consider him the biggest liability in the midfield. His decision-making, crossing and shooting have all taken a nosedive, and he lacks the speed to make up for any mistakes. The team can learn how to survive without Mike Grella, but it is clueless on how to play well without Kljestan. He must step up and play better, because when he isn't creating chances, then nobody else is capable of doing it for him.

Predicted XI:

GK Luis Robles

DF Connor Lade - Aaron Long - Damien Perrinelle - Sal Zizzo

DM Sean Davis - Felipe

MF Alex Muyl - Sacha Kljestan - Daniel Royer

FW Bradley Wright-Phillips

Injuries: OUT - Gideon Baah (out for season), Mike Grella (out for season); QUESTIONABLE - Aurelien Collin

Suspensions: Tyler Adams (one game for violent conduct)

International Duty: DF Michael Amir Murillo (Panama), DF Kemar Lawrence (Jamaica)