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Fireside Chat: New England v. Chicago, MLS # 23

Hot Time In Old Town asks Steve Stoehr, Regiment Commander of The Bent Musket, a few questions about the New England Revolution.


In preparation of Saturday's game in Boston, the Hot Time In Old Town staff sent a few questions over to Steve Stoehr, the Editor-In-Chief of the The Bent Musket. We asked a lot of questions about New England's forwards since it is a position that Jay Heaps is struggling to find an answer for. It's not all about forwards, though. We did get one question in about the return of Kevin Alston.

Is Charlie Davies the long term answer up top for the Revs, or does he need a true number one striker playing alongside him? (via John Jenzeh)

I don't think Davies is the long-term answer at all. Juan Agudelo is the prototype of the striker the Revolution need to plow the lone furrow up top and Chuck D doesn't fit that mold at all. I think he'll do just fine here, but he's not going to be the solution, in my opinion. Granted, I'm basing that off of Davies' old skill set and the type of game he played in D.C. If he's evolved at all and accounted for his diminishing speed by developing a better link-up game, this could be a very fruitful partnership for both Davies and the Revs.

For Davies, though, his Revolution career is going to depend on how he does in 2014, which is unfortunate, because he's only on loan till the end of this season. If he doesn't do well this season while playing a role he's probably not best-suited for, he doesn't get another bite at the apple. We may never get to see what a fully-acclimated and well-utilized Charlie Davies could do for the Revs.

What's the chances both Bengston and Sene are with the team in 2014? (via Adam Merges)

The chances of Bengtson being on the team next year are kind of like the odds of a miracle happening - the percent chance, while infinitesimally small, is still not technically zero. In reality, he's toast. The man can't get anything going. He's not a terrific passer of the ball, his instincts when playing with this team are atrocious, and he couldn't score if the other team was trying to help him do it. He's made Dimitry Imbongo and Chad Barrett look like legitimate first-choice strikers. How is that even possible?

Sene, on the other hand, is a curious case. He's confirmed that there is interest from overseas, but we haven't gotten much else out of him, the Revs, or those other clubs. He's not in a contract year, so he'll have to be outright bought, and the Revs are a team that has always been reluctant to sell players unless it's for the right number. If he continues to play well through the end of the season I think he'll be gone, but there's a more than reasonable chance that he'll get one more year here.

Obviously, the development of wunderkind Diego Fagundez has been one of the great stories of the season so far, both for the Revs and, more generally, for MLS as a whole. He's played up top, in the middle behind a striker, and on the wing. In your opinion, where is Diego Fagundez' best position? (via Sean Spence)

He's an advanced, inside-out winger. That's where he's done all his damage this year, and it's where he seems most comfortable. Given the freedom to swap wings and cut inside to take players on, that kid can flat-out ball. He's always seemed restricted at the striker position in this system, and while playing closer to the middle in the midfield might suit him as well, I think he's really taken a shine to the free-flowing wing style Jay Heaps has groomed into him.

Here is another question about forwards - Dimitry Imbongo Boele got another red card last Saturday. He now has as many red cards this season as he has goals (3 each). Why does Dimitry have so many red cards and do you think Jay Heaps is done playing him? (via Mark O'Rourke)

I think he has that many red cards because he's not playing smart. I don't know if all the cards, both red and yellow, that he's accumulated have been deserved; frankly I've seen Steven Lenhart get away without even a foul call for stuff that sees Imbongo carded. I'm not sure that's a ringing endorsement, but it's out there. Still, he needs to realize that playing physical is great, but playing out of control is not.

Take last week's game for instance. He gets carded and barks at the referee. Apparently the card was for dissent, I don't know, it looked like a card for a high arm. Soft or not, you need to recognize as a player that you have that card, that you were carded for that reason, and that the referee apparently likes to make those calls. Imbongo didn't realize that, and he got his second yellow on another high elbow when shielding the ball.

Part of that blame also has to go on Heaps, though. Moments prior, Heaps brought Chad Barrett on to replace Saer Sene. Without even approaching why that's a bad idea considering Sene was playing on the wing and Barrett is very much a target striker, Imbongo on a yellow is a ticking time bomb and Heaps needs to have enough foresight to get him out of a problem situation. That match, with a ref calling it tight on the Revs and Imbongo already on his bad side, was begging for a striker replacement. It never came, and the Revs went down to 10 men.

With Agudelo healing and Davies arriving, Imbongo may be relegated to a bench role once again, especially with these obvious discipline issues.

How excited are Revs fans to have Kevin Alston back? How big of an impact does Alston's presence have on the Revolution and how they play? (via Mark O'Rourke)

We're excited to have him back because he's been with the team for so long, he's such a nice guy, and everyone wants him to pull through his illness. It's a major morale boost for the squad, the fans, and even the media covering the team.

In pure soccer terms, it's just depth. Heaps is out of his mind if he thinks that shaking up the back line by replacing Tierney with Alston is going to be a good idea. His plan to do just that fell apart spectacularly against Kansas City, and it won't fare much better against anyone else. Alston is a tremendous athlete, but when you put all the pieces together he's an average fullback at best. His positioning is awful, his passing is suspect, and apparently he can't win the aerial ball. Tierney isn't superman, but he's positionally smart with a cultured left foot. There are no better left back options at the moment.