Recently we had the chance to swap intelligence folders with longtime pal Jake Catanese of The Blazing Musket to learn about tonight’s opposition and what to expect. Do check out their site for our answers to their questions!
Assuming that Carles Gil isn’t ready to go, and Dylan Borrero is away to international duty, who tries to get Gustavo Bou the ball, or does he do it his damn self?
I mean, if there was any game to give Gustavo Bou the green light from literally anywhere on the East Coast it would be this one. The Revs two best chances against Nashville were both from Bou going basically 1v1 at the near post and he practically roofed the winner off the post last week in the Revs 1-0 win. Last week was not a vintage Revs attacking performance without Gil but it was enough as the Revs defense has been really good in three of their first four games. We’re not going to mention that LAFC game a couple weeks ago.
The key will be the two fullbacks – DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bye – who have very quietly become I think one of the best deep attacking partnerships at the position in MLS. Jones’ attacking exploits have been known for a while however it’s been Bye’s more steady growth that has really elevated him and the Revs as a whole in recent seasons. Bye has been able to deliver some killer low crosses into the box and with a resurgent Bobby Wood and Bou to aim for in the box. The midfield being able to create and exploit the overloads with the fullbacks is something I would be very aware of if I were DC United’s backline this weekend. I think the Revs will have enough to get a result in this one, but it might be barely so unless someone steps up and has a big individual game.
Between Dave Romney, Bobby Wood and Latif Blessing, the Revs seem to have some hits on their hands. Can you give us a quick ranking of “Best” to “Least Best” and why?
So, ranking these three against each other is impossible – they all bring a wealth of experience to the starting lineup and each have brought their own strengths to New England. However, and I don’t know how surprising this is, I think Dave Romney has been the most influential or impactful member of that group because of his aerial presence in the backline. Neither Henry Kessler or Andrew Farrell (who has been out injured all year) are aerial wizards, so Romney posting just about 70% in headed duels is a pretty big deal for a team that struggles to defend set pieces and gives away a lot of those chances. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Revs have won three games all via shutout this year, as Romney and Kessler have proved to be a formidable pairing defensively and both are capable of moving the ball upfield well too.
Blessing has been a great partner with Matt Polster and Noel Buck in the midfield, adding another all around performer to a midfield corps that hasn’t even seen Tommy McNamara yet this year and I think Blessing would not be a bad fill in candidate for Gil as a playmaking central midfielder. Bobby Wood has certainly been the most surprising, with his off ball movement and goalward runs that have been really intelligent and helped open up a lot of space for his teammates. Wood has been very smart with his shot selection too, putting three of his four total shots on the year on target while adding three key passes. That kind of all around game has kept Vrioni on the bench so as long as Wood is chipping in here and there he should continue to get starts and major minutes.
Does the Jozy Altidore situation get worse before it gets better?
I mean, it’s hard for it to get worse at this point since he hasn’t played at all this year. With Bobby Wood getting the minutes at starter ahead of DP Giacomo Vrioni, at best Jozy is third on the depth chart up top and is unlikely to get many minutes out wide if at all over homegrown Justin Rennicks who has served well as a pressing forward. Whatever the situation Bruce and Jozy envisioned at the start of the 2022 season, it clearly hasn’t worked out and I’m sure Jozy is doing everything he can to be ready to play.
The heckling incident last week…no one looks good here. Why Revs fans are doing anything but celebrating a win is beyond me and Jozy should be smart enough to not engage with that stuff. I’m sure Jozy is frustrated but all he can do is what he can to be ready, even if that means playing mostly cameo minutes off the bench. It’s a role the Revs are going to need at some point to help close out games, just like Omar Gonzalez struggling at the beginning of last year as a proverbial “closer” as the 3rd centerback.
OK, so does Horse Guy win in a fight over Man with Big Hat? Are they the same person? Have they been seen at Revs game to prove otherwise?
After speaking with our ace interviewer Seth Macomber, the consensus is that Horse Guy being part horse should be a tremendous advantage here with a uniqueness in size/strength/speed able to overcome the tremendous visibility of the Big Hat. Horse Guy has undisputed legend status at TBM and I think Big Hat is working his way towards that but nothing beats seeing a random “Neigh” sign on the broadcast cameras from the top row at Gillette.
Clearly these are two different people as we’ve interviewed them both, should make for a good undercard at the ASG for the Rooney-Turner main event.
Lineup: 4-2-3-1: Petrovic; Jones, Romney, Kessler, Bye; Polster, Blessing; Boateng, Buck, Bou; Wood
Carles Gil is not on the injury report but I would think he’s at the very least unlikely to start in this one. GK Jacob Jackson and MF Maciel are both out with long term injuries while McNamara and Nacho Gil have yet to feature this year along with Andrew Farrell who has cleared the injury report.
The Revs can announce this as a diamond midfield all they want, but Gustavo Bou is not a CAM though Boateng could be a decent enough shuttling midfielder if needed. I say go with the double pivot, leave either Blessing or Buck back with Polster as holding mids and see what Bou and Boateng running at a defense can do with the fullbacks supporting them. If the Revs are able to generate a lot of good scoring opportunities, I like them to win this game, but that is not a guarantee with Gil being a question mark. I think DC nabs a point late in a 1-1 draw.