By Ryan Fleming
It’s been a long month for the New England Revolution. Battling through injuries, dealing with suspensions and managing only one point, a tie to San Jose. The Revs will look to end the second half of the month on a much higher note tomorrow against Toronto.
As of late, New England have started to get it’s feet under them despite all the setbacks. They finally have a chance to play with a full 18-man roster this weekend, the first time all month. Coming off a 0-0 tie to San Jose, the Revs now have some momentum on their side. Toronto is also coming off a 0-0 draw. The Reds (3-4-1, 10 pts.) managed to tie the LA Galaxy, the league’s best team, thanks in large part to TFC keeper, Stefan Frei. Both team’s will have an extra air of confidence coming into tomorrow night’s match.
Hopefully, for New England (2-5-2, 8 pts.), their momentum didn’t vanish after it was stomped, 4-0, by Benfica on Wednesday. The exhibition against the reigning Portuguese champions, showed where the Revs lack, the areas they could improve and provided a great example on how great soccer is played.
Revolution manager, Steve Nicol, took notice.
“I guess the good thing for us to take out of this game is to see what they do well, and no surprise, all the good teams control the ball, pass the ball well and move,” Nicol said. “If we can look at them and try and try and understand that if we can do that better then we are at the present time then we will get better.”
The typically meaningless game also gave Nicol, the other coaches and the players a chance to look at some new talent they haven’t seen previous.
Jean-Baptiste Fritzon, Ivan Gvozdenovic and Jason Griffiths all saw playing time against Benfica, giving them a chance to impress Nicol and earn the vacant roster spot.
“I think they all worked extremely hard. They are all in different situations,” Nicol said about the trial players. “As far as their effort and their work rate and stuff, they did well enough. But, obviously it was hard for anybody.”
Nicol wasn’t the only one taking notes on the starting XI hopefuls.
“I think they stepped up and played well. I think they rose to the occasion.,” defender Cory Gibbs said. “In terms of what they did and what they brought to the team, I think they did well.”
With a near-full bench and a chip on their shoulder, the Revolution could be smiling again.
Ryan Fleming is a editor and writer for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.