CARSON, Calif. – Ahead of Sunday’s MLS Cup Final, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano gives you the Three Things that you have to know about the Eastern Conference champion New England Revolution.
JONES AND NGUYEN: THE MIDFIELD BOSSES
The New England Revolution reached MLS Cup in impressive fashion in large part due to the midfield presence of U.S. internationals Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen.
Since arriving in August, Jones has proven to be the engine in the midfield for the Revs with a perfect balance of physicality and silky smooth passing. With Jones seeking to wander around the field, Nguyen has been able to exploit gaps in opposing back lines en route to becoming an MLS MVP finalist. Their ability to cover ground and create opportunities for themselves and others is aided by a pair of dynamic wingers in Chris Tierney and Teal Bunbury who look to stretch defenses and create space for attackers.
But even though Jones and Nguyen have garnered all the headlines for the Revolution during their run to MLS Cup, they aren’t the only weapons for the Revolution. Don’t discount the influence of defensive midfielder Scott Caldwell who will look to sit in front of the defense and break up Galaxy forays forward while also starting New England on the counter.
THE REBIRTH OF CHARLIE DAVIES
A traumatic car accident threatened to cut short Charlie Davies’ career in its prime, but now, five years later, he’s found redemption with the Revolution.
Looking every bit the speedy forward that he was when he was banging in goals for the U.S. National Team, Davies has blossomed into the lone striker in Revs head coach Jay Heaps’ 4-1-4-1 formation. After scoring just three goals in the regular season, Davies has come on strong in the postseason notching a team-leading four tallies including two in their decisive Eastern Conference Championship second leg win over the New York Red Bulls.
No doubt the Galaxy are aware of Davies’ impact as LA center back Omar Gonzalez went as far as to label him “completely back to the Charlie of old” in the buildup to Sunday’s match.
THE MEN IN THE BACK
Charged with trying to shut down the LA Galaxy’s high-powered offense will be 2013 MLS Defender of the Year Jose Gonçalves and the rest of the Revolution back line.
At 6-foot-2, Gonçalves cuts an imposing figure for opposing attackers, but the Portuguese defender isn’t purely a physical defender as his ability to organize and lead the defense was vital for a Revolution team that conceded just 46 goals during the regular season. LA must also be mindful of the veteran center back on set pieces as the Revs primary target on all dead ball opportunities.
Joining Gonçalves in the back line will likely be a youthful bunch of central defender A.J. Soares, attack-minded left back Kevin Alston, fleet-footed right back Andrew Farrell, and goalkeeper Bobby Shuttlesworth.