After a week of bold predictions, including a monster season for Andrew Farrell, USMNT hopes for Lee Nguyen and finalized plans for a soccer-specific stadium, Nick reveals five declarations of his own. Will Kelyn Rowe really make an All-Star appearance? Read on.
1. The Revolution will fly out of the gate
Even with a daunting March schedule, the Revolution figure to emerge from their typical early-season funk. Why? Because 2014 served as a hopeful launching point, and because Jay Heaps has discovered his core. In his previous three campaigns, Heaps entered the regular season with a slew of roster questions; in 2015, he will likely return 10 of 11 starters (come on, Teal Bunbury), a crew that led the Revolution through a remarkable MLS Cup run. This team needs to prove that it can win once again, and they will start proving themselves on day one.
2. Kelyn Rowe will make an MLS All-Star appearance
Perhaps I'm a shameless supporter of Kelyn Rowe--he didn't show particularly well in his final three matches last season--though I believe a year of health will work wonders for the former UCLA star. For the past two years, Rowe has flirted with a breakout season, even putting together a promising 2014 campaign after playing less than 2,000 minutes. His ability to cut inside, make smart, intelligent passes and stay strong over the ball make him an invaluable complement to Lee Nguyen. His ceiling looks awfully high.
3. The I-95 rivalry will run through New England
Last season, the 1-95 corridor generated key stories for each club: the Revs advanced to MLS Cup, D.C. United won the East, New York surged late and Philadelphia struggled before narrowly missing the postseason. Though none of the four clubs look better on paper, the Revolution seem poised to own the rivalry next season. One team lost its star, another can't keep its star out of trouble, and a third desperately needs a star. And, to be thorough, a fourth is seeking a replacement for a star who won't suit up until July--for a club who has yet to compete in an MLS match. NYCFC will put pressure on the top clubs in the conference, though the Revs are the east-coast team to beat.
4. Jeremy Hall will turn into the next Darrius Barnes
Revs' nation quietly buzzed following the club's signing of Jeremy Hall, and I have to admit: I love the move. Hall offers the versatility to serve as a valuable piece off the bench, with experience playing as a right back, central midfielder and wide midfielder. So, when the regular season roles around, Heaps will have the opportunity utilize Hall wherever his club has a depth need. How does this make him a Darrius Barnes-like figure? Simple: a solid jack-of-all-trades who routinely exceeds expectations is bound to serve as a fan favorite. Just ask Darrius.
5. The Revs will don a red secondary jersey
After Seth leaked news of a new secondary shirt--which, according to Club President Brian Bilelo, will not be white--fans started to murmur about potential colors. We have few leads suggesting that Bilelo will unveil a red jersey, though the decision seems logical. A non-traditional, modern look would work wonders for the team's brand, much like the red secondary shirt worn by the U.S. Men's National Team following the 2010 World Cup. If the team incorporates a green pine tree--and other influences from the New England flag--fans will flock to Patriot Place to purchase their own.