We are days away from the New England Revolution kicking off against the LA Galaxy for the MLS Cup. Both teams will use the remaining time to go through their final practices, analyze film, and draw up game plans. With this in mind, let's take a look at three keys to the game from the Revs' perspective:
- The Revolution will need an unexpected hero. MLS Cup promos consistently feature two Revs players, Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones. The choices aren't surprising as Nguyen has been sensational all year and Jones has been a revelation since joining the team. Much like the promos, opponents have spent too much time focusing on the midfield duo this postseason. As a result, Charlie Davies, Teal Bunbury and Chris Tierney have each had the opportunity to shine. On Sunday, the Revs will likely need another unforeseen hero in order to lift the cup. Will it be one of the aforementioned names or someone else? Perhaps Kelyn Rowe, Andrew Farrell, or even Diego Fagundez will steal the spotlight.
- The decision of who to start at left midfield could decide the game. Head coach Jay Heaps made a bold judgment in the second leg of the Eastern Conference Final when he started Tierney over Rowe. Tierney rewarded the gaffer's instincts by contributing two assists. This success could mean that Tierney remains in the midfield. After all, the Massachusetts native is one of the most accurate left-footed players in MLS. Plus, having the speed of Kevin Alston behind him is a great way to neutralize the opposition. That said, Tierney isn't the type of midfielder that will be moving throughout the field as he will largely be found out wide on the left side. Rowe provides more dynamic movement which could be effective against the organized Galaxy. The switching of Rowe and Bunbury proved to be useful against the Columbus Crew this postseason.
- It's all about transitions. Possession is overrated. The MLS Cup will not be decided by who has the most possession, but rather, who uses their possession more competently. Both the Revolution and Galaxy have the speedy options to be deadly on the break. As a result, it will be important for both teams not to lose the ball in critical spots. When turnovers do occur, organization will be critical. Look for smart fouls from Juninho, Marcelo Sarvas, Scott Caldwell, and Jones throughout the game.