The New England Revolution will be a tough test today for your Seattle Sounders. The Revs have completely transformed in the last twelve months from Eastern Conference also-ran to title contender. They gave eventual champion Sporting Kansas City a battle in last year’s playoffs and are currently tied for first in the East. However, the statistics don’t like the Revs. Unlike Philadelphia, a team with a horrible record yet great predictive analytics, the Revs are winning despite poor stats. New England is mediocre in possession, shots on goals, and commits too many turnovers. Yet they field a team that continues to win.
New England’s roster is young, athletic and fast. Lee Nguyen plays a mean game of soccer. He has great vision and suave technicality in tight spaces (he pulled off a cheeky backheel in Toronto). However, he’s been heralded as “the most underrated” player in MLS so often lately that he may be getting overrated.
Another player to watch is rookie Patrick Mullins. Mullins may have finally cracked the eleven while proving all the haters wrong. At the University of Maryland, Mullins was the most decorated collegiate soccer player in the country. He won back-to-back Hermann Trophies, the Heisman of college soccer, and yet faced a lot of detractors before the 2014 MLS Super Draft. The knock being he was just a one-dimensional scorer without the skills to build a career as a professional. New England selected Mullins 7th overall and he’s starting to reward their confidence. He is so much more than a one-trick poacher. Mullins contributes all over the pitch, he moves well and does the dirty work. It’s easy enough to flash around, fill channels and poach goals. Mullins embraces the unsung grittiness, the hold-up play and thankless runs, of the forward position.
I’m nervous we lose this one. A lot of the fringe variable are stacked against Seattle. We’re tired. We’re looking ahead to USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s call-ups. We’re facing a quality team on the road on a short week. Our last loss was to Columbus, a rising Eastern team hungry to prove its mettle against mighty Seattle. This game could be déjà vu all over again.
Bold Prediction: I hate predicting a loss, but I see the Sounders sloppy early. The Sodo Mojo doesn’t follow them to the Eastern time zone. 2-1 New England. Prove me wrong boys.