FOXBORO, MA - MAY 2: Saer Sene #39 of the New England Revolution scores a goal as Jeff Larentowicz #4 of the Colorado Rapids and Kosuke Kimura #27 of the Colorado Rapids look on during the first half at Gillette Stadium on May 2, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
The Montreal Impact host their neighbors to the south, the New England Revolution in MLS mid-week action. After losing to Toronto FC on the weekend, the Revolution will be looking to getting a big W and get closer to 5th spot in the East. The Impact is also coming off a loss to the Philadelphia Union and a win for the home team is almost a necessity.
The Revolution is one of the ten original MLS franchises to compete in the league's inaugural season in 1996 but hasn't won a MLS Cup since. 2007 and beyond has been a rebuilding time for New England but a few good moves and new head coach, Jay Heaps, has brought some good momentum for the team.
Mount Royal Soccer
1) Under new head coach Jay Heaps, how is the New England Revolution tagged as a team? is that a reflection on the club/organisation or are both the office and the pitch clearly separated?
I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "tagged," but I would say the team's identity and reputation under Heaps has changed from one of stagnation to one of youthful vigor. There's a lot of young players on this team with a lot of energy, and part of that is Jay, who is so enthusiastic and energetic it's contagious. It also helps that the team seems unafraid to pass and attack which, compared to last year, is like a complete 180-degree turnaround.
As far as separation of on- and off-pitch identities, I think the separation is becoming a little less drastic. Kraft and company finally realized that the way they were running the organization was lagging close to a decade behind the best in the league; accordingly, they've made some changes. People can argue that maybe giving Mike Burns the reins at GM was a mistake, but (in my opinion) he's done well enough. The real big move, though, was letting Brian Bilello take control of the team as President. Brian's an all-around good guy and he's very passionate about the team, and he's gone a long way toward making the front office reflect the exuberance and energy of the players and touchline staff.
Mount Royal Soccer:
2) Feilhaber, Nguyen and Sene are 3 players that always catch my attention when watching the New England Revolution play. Are they the core of the offensive sector of the club? Who are the sleeper players or unsung hero on the field?
That's definitely the offensive core for this club. Feilhaber pulls the strings, Sene scores the goals, and Nguyen does a little bit of both. But if you're looking for unsung heroes, don't sleep on Chris Tierney. He's the team leader in assists - from the left back position - and his understanding with Lee Nguyen on the left is bordering on the supernatural. The majority of this club's most potent attacks come down the left thanks to those two, and Tierney's service is among the most dangerous in the league. Last week's loss notwithstanding, of course.
Mount Royal Soccer:
3) Gillette Stadium is the home of the New England Revolution and is not a soccer-specific stadium. How is/has that stadium and the fans have helped in building a soccer culture in New England?
The stadium hasn't helped at all. It was built with accommodating soccer in mind, so it's not like some of the other non-SSS situations we used to have around the league, but it's still a cavernous football stadium in the middle of nowhere with no public transport access. Honestly, the only helpful thing about it for the team is the fact that it's owned outright by the Krafts, so they don't have to pay leasing fees or anything.
The fans, though, have been massive, especially in the last three or four years. The Midnight Riders have always been a passionate group, but the advent of The Rebellion has really helped to galvanize a flagging supporter culture, and the two groups have spearheaded a closer relationship with the front office to promote a better atmosphere at games. The supporters' groups host viewing parties and other events, too, and it's just a really big help to have guys and girls with that kind of emotional investment promoting the club across New England.
Bonus Question: What is the best song to encapsulate the tight race in the East fort 5th spot? I go with '' The Heat Is On ''
I don't know. I feel like right now it's anybody's guess, but come September, my song choice will be "The Final Countdown."