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Chicago v. New England - MLS # 28 - Fireside Chat

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Question exchange with The Bent Musket.

USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of the week, the Chicago Fire had to quickly forget a disappointing loss in Seattle and focus their mid-week tilt in Toronto. Now the Fire have to forget a disappointing mid-week draw in Toronto and focus on their next match against New England on Saturday. No matter how good a player is at cleansing their mental pallet, a couple of incredibly disappointing results in such a short period of time has got to leave a bitter after taste.

Over here at Hot Time, we are also trying to cleanse our mental pallets and move on by asking Steve Stoehr from The Bent Musket a couple of questions ahead of Saturday's match agains the New England Revolution.

How good has New England's Homegrown players been? Would you say that this is one of the areas that the Revolution excel at? (via Adam Merges)

Well, our two locally-produced homegrown players are Diego Fagundez and Scott Caldwell. Diego's got 10 goals and 6 assists in his third professional season, and Scott has locked down a starting defensive midfield job - arguably one of the toughest and most important positions in MLS, over proven commodities like Clyde Simms and Kalifa Cisse - in just his first season as a pro. I may not be an expert, but I'd say that's a pretty good indicator that our strength lies in our youth development.

It has to lie somewhere, because the Revs tend to be pretty bad at making acquisitions through other means.

How important is it for this young team to win now? Surely replacing Agudelo's play won't be a simple matter. (via Sean Spence)

I've given that a lot of thought, honestly. This team's offense just isn't the same without Agudelo. It's amazing, really - even when he doesn't score, it's obvious that the Revolution are a totally different side when he is in it. It's simply impossible to ignore the fact that this attack will be a completely different once he leaves for Stoke City, and it's difficult to understand how the Revs will account for that. Dimitry Imbongo has made strides, Saer Sene still lurks, and Charlie Davies is in the fold, but none of them seem to have that kind of impact.

It definitely creates an impetus to win now, but I don't think the Revs quite have the horses to do it yet. There's a certain lack of depth that creates the issue, and with youth also comes inconsistency. Until the Revs can overcome both of those obstacles, I don't see them winning MLS Cup, though I suppose the playoffs aren't out of the question. Unfortunately, those issues aren't likely to be corrected this season, and next season will be trying without Agudelo...as you can see, it's a difficult conundrum, and one I am not confident will be fixed adequately.

If there are no playoffs for the Revs this year, do you see the team sticking with Jay Heaps for 2014? (via Adam Merges)

Yes, though I wouldn't be so sure it's the right idea. At this point he's improved enough to keep his job, but his sides continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Some of them are the mistakes of youth, but when you see a squad repeatedly show mental deficiency in games, lacking focus and discipline, it has to come back to the coaching. I've also disagreed with some of his lineup and substitution choices, as he's shown erratic decision-making in that regard.

On the other hand, I don't really have confidence in the club's ability to hire anyone better, and he has improved considerably over 2012. It's easy to be too harsh on a young coach, and I suppose, barring a major regression in September and October, he has earned his next season.

Projected Lineup?

Bobby Shuttleworth; Chris Tierney, Stephen McCarthy, Jose Goncalves, Andrew Farrell; Scott Caldwell; Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe, Lee Nguyen, Chad Barrett; Dimitry Imbongo

Gracias, Steve.