The New England Revolution played their first preseason game of 2019 on Thursday, drawing Shanghai Shenhua FC 0-0.
Head coach Brad Friedel opted for mixed lineups while providing his players with an opportunity to get minutes. Here are three thoughts from the game, which wasn’t streamed:
1. Could we see a new formation? During his Twitter play-by-play, Revolution senior staff writer and editor Jeff Lemieux noted that the Revs lined up in a 4-4-2, which is a departure from last year’s 4-2-3-1. The switch could be worthwhile, as the Revs have a wealth of forwards on their roster. Juan Fernando Caicedo, Teal Bunbury, Brian Wright, and Justin Rennicks are all capable of playing up top. Additionally, don’t be surprised if we see Diego Fagundez or Carles Gil play as a withdrawn striker. How will the 4-4-2 work under Friedel? We’ll have to wait until the first streamed preseason game to pass judgement. Until then we can pick apart the lineups used on Thursday.
2. The Revs need more center back depth. Jalil Anibaba and Andrew Farrell were center back partners to start Thursday’s game with Michael Mancienne and Antonio Delamea taking over at halftime. The second half participants are the presumed starters heading into 2019, but I’m more concerned about the position’s depth. As far as I’m concerned, Farrell has a skill set that’s best used on the outside. This means that the Revs have three natural CB’s on their roster. If Friedel wants to have competition at all spots, he needs to bring in a center back that’s of Anibaba’s quality or better.
3. I think Mancienne will serve as the captain. It might seem like a little thing, but the person who dons the captain’s armband can have a big impact. On Thursday, Scott Caldwell and Mancienne shared the honor in opposite halves. I like Caldwell and think he’s a fine choice to be captain, especially since he’s a Homegrown, but Manicenne has the inside track. After all, he’s an experienced leader who has captained several European clubs. The Englishman even wore the armband during the Revolution’s season finale for 2018.