MLS Preview and Prediction: New York City vs Montreal Impact

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York City FC vs. Montreal Impact

Venue: Yankee Stadium – Saturday, June 13 – 19:00 ET (00:00 BST)

Match Odds: New York City 5/4 – Draw 23/10 – Montreal Impact 11/5

Match Preview

New York City FC take on Montreal Impact on Saturday evening with both sides coming into this one off the back of wins.

NYCFC won their first Major League Soccer tie in 11 attempts away at Philadelphia Union last weekend and they have to build on that positive result.

Jason Kreis will be desperate for his side to find their first home win in six as they are still sitting bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Patrick Mullins netted the dramatic late winner last weekend and has the same number of goals, three, as David Villa this season.

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Montreal Impact have won four of their last five and won their last two on the bounce. They beat Columbus Crew away last weekend and will feel they have a good chance of making it three wins from three in this tie.

Impact have continued to close the gap for a playoff spot and are now just two points off sixth place. A win here could see them finish the weekend in the top six.

Frank Klopas still has an injury hit squad but his players showed their desire to win last weekend with their backs against the wall.

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Montreal’s win last weekend was their first away victory in 21 attempts. They need to make sure they do not go on another run like that if they want to continue their improvement as they are now one of the inform sides in MLS.

Team News

George John, Tony Taylor, Josh Williams, Javier Calle, Khiry Shelton and Connor Brandt are all out for NYCFC. Mix Diskerud could return but played and scored in the USMNT win over Germany on Wednesday and Adam Nemec is still on international duty.

Montreal Impact’s injury woes are looking a little better but eight players could still miss out. Justin Mapp, Adrian Lopez, Cameron Porter, Kenny Cooper are set to be unavailable, while Dominic Oduro, Hassoun Camara, Eric Miller and Dilly Duka are doubts. Ambroise Oyongo and Maxim Tissot are both away on international duty while Marco Donadel will also miss out as he is suspended.

Key Points

New York City FC’s last five: L/D/L/D/W

Montreal Impact’s last five: W/W/L/W/W

Key Stat: New York have failed to win in their last six home Major League Soccer outings.

Key Player: Patrick Mullins – The forward’s confidence will be sky high after his winner last weekend and he will be looking to give the home fans something to cheer about.

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Score Prediction

New York City FC 1-1 Montreal Impact – The sides to share the points, NYCFC to continue their poor run of home form and Impact to build steadily on their first away win of the season.

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MLS 2015 Season Preview: New York City FC

As the 2015 season draws closer, we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what New York City FC will be hoping to achieve in their first-ever season…

We’re extremely excited for the arrival of New York City FC into Major League Soccer, and fans across the league will be looking forward to seeing how they get on in their first-ever campaign. With players like David Villa and Frank Lampard as part of their inaugural roster, they boast some fine talent. But this is their first season and so there is always going to be doubt over the potential of this side. Only time will tell if they are ready to take MLS by storm.

Last season’s finish: N/A (Inaugural Season)

David Villa in action for New York City FC against Brondby (via NYCFC.com)

David Villa in action for New York City FC against Brondby (via NYCFC.com)

What to expect this year:

As this is their first season there is no bar set. However, with the money invested in the squad, New York City will need to at least make the playoffs for 2015 to be deemed a success. Much depends on the arrival of Frank Lampard in July and the extent of his impact will play a major part in their accomplishments this season. They also have David Villa up front however, so they should still be fine until Lampard arrives and will hope to make a good start to life in MLS.

Key changes to the squad:

With this being the first-ever NYCFC squad there have been endless arrivals. The following players are the key additions.

Ins: David Villa – Striker (Designated Player), Frank Lampard – Midfielder (Designated Player), Mix Diskerud – Midfielder, Patrick Mullins – Forward, Ned Grabavoy – Midfielder, Adam Nemec – Forward

Outs: N/A

Key player: David Villa – Forward

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World Cup winner, David Villa is expected to spearhead the New York City attack and what a man to do it. NYCFC has spared no expense in bringing in the decorated striker who boasts his previous clubs as Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia. The Spaniard is a great addition to the franchise and he will be the marquee man to lead this club forward for their first campaign and beyond. Expect goals and lots of them.

One to watch: Khiry Shelton

First round MLS SuperDraft pick, Khiry Shelton has a running style that looks effortless and so he will glide past defenders. Should he get his chance this year, we’re expecting him to make a huge impact. He could form a lethal partnership with David Villa in attack if given the opportunity and the pair demonstrated their chemistry in NYCFC’s preseason draw with Orlando City in the Carolina Challenge Cup.

Predicted finish: Eastern Conference – 5th

Reaching the playoffs in their first-ever season will be the aim for New York City. Failure to do so would be seen as unacceptable given the amount that has been invested in this squad. Jason Kreis has the players at his disposal and must find a way to get the team ticking as quickly as possible. The Eastern Conference will be fiercely competitive but with stars like David Villa and Frank Lampard on their team, NYCFC must make sure they reach the postseason.

How will New York City fare in their first-ever MLS campaign?

MLS 2015 Season Preview: New England Revolution

As the 2015 season beckons, we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what the New England Revolution will be hoping to achieve this year…

Is this New England Revolution’s year? Could they go all the way? They finished as runners-up last term and were a dominant force in MLS once Jermaine Jones arrived in August. They lost just once in the regular season after the arrival of Jones and were impressive throughout the playoffs before losing in extra-time to the LA Galaxy in the 2014 MLS Cup final. That defeat will still be haunting players as well as the Revs supporters but they are in a strong position to hit the ground running and make another charge at the title this season. 

Last season’s finish: Eastern Conference position: 2nd – P34 – W17 – D4 – L13 

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What needs to change this year? 

Not much if we’re honest, they just need to pick up where they left off and hope that Jermaine Jones and Lee Nguyen can continue to inspire them. Perhaps one weakness with the Revs is the lack of goals from their attacking core. Nguyen (as good as he is) should not be top scorer again and the return of Juan Agudelo is one which should only make the team more dangerous.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Juan Agudelo – Forward, Jeremy Hall – Midfielder, Sean Okoli – Midfielder

Outs: Patrick Mullins – Forward, Tony Taylor – Forward, AJ Soares – Defender, Stephen McCarthy – Defender

Key player: Lee Nguyen – Midfielder

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Lee Nguyen was the standout performer for New England in 2014 and came very close to being named as the league’s MVP, though he fell short to Robbie Keane for that accolade. Still, with 20 goals last season and a deserved recall to the USMNT, Nguyen looks set to inspire his side once again. He was the highest scoring midfielder in MLS last time out and will hope to build on those incredible displays in 2015.

One to watch: Juan Agudelo – Forward

Juan Agudelo returns to New England for a second spell after leaving for Europe in 2013. He will add sharpness to this Revs side in attack and will be battling with Charlie Davies for the starting spot. He will be key this term so expect goals from the 22-year-old striker. With a supporting cast of Nguyen, Teal Bunbury and Jermaine Jones to name just a few, Agudelo could be a genuine candidate for the MLS Golden Boot this year. Watch out.

Predicted finish: Eastern Conference – 1st

New England were four points off first-placed DC United in the Eastern Conference last year and lost four more games than the eventual winners. Though they have Jermaine Jones for a full season now and his influence cannot be undervalued. The Eastern Conference is packed with talented squads and it will be a fiercely competitive campaign, but the Revs have only strengthened over the offseason and will expect to be competing for the MLS Cup again come December. They were the form side at the end of 2014 and won the Eastern Conference title in the end. They will go into the new season in full confidence.

How will New England Revolution fare in 2015?

Weighing up the 2015 MLS Top Scorer Candidates

As we draw closer to the new campaign Lewis Addley has a look at who could be the top goalscorer come the end of the 2015 season. In no particular order here are the top five candidates, followed by a selection of those who will hot on their tails.

  • Bradley Wright Phillips: The New York Red Bulls goal machine has to be a considered once again. His record-tying 27 goal tally in the regular season last time out was an astonishing total which he will be eager to better this season. Without the support of Thierry Henry he will have to work extra hard and teams across the league will be aware of how dangerous he is.
  • Dom Dwyer: Sporting Kansas City’s very own Englishman. The 24-year-old was runner up to BWP last season with his tally of 22. Dwyer will be looking to impress once again and will want to emulate his form going into the new campaign. If he continues to be as deadly in the box while remaining fit, we could have a real long-term gem working his way up the all-time MLS goalscoring list.

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  • David Villa: New York City’s new superstar doesn’t need much of an introduction. The Spanish goal machine has scored countless times for all the clubs he has played for and is the highest goalscorer in the Spanish National Team’s history. Villa will be playing alongside Patrick Mullins and MLS rookie Khiry Shelton, with all three players looking to prove why they signed for the expansion franchise. Villa could find himself wide left instead of spearheading the NYCFC forward line, a position he has played very effectively for both Barcelona and Spain, so his position will determine just how many times he finds the net in 2015.
  • Robbie Keane: The veteran 34-year-old cannot go without a mention. Scoring the winning goal in extra-time of the MLS Cup final in December shows he still has the legs and hunger to find the back of the net. His tally of 19 last season is impressive considering he was playing alongside Gyasi Zardes and Landon Donovan, who scored 26 goals combined. Keane is still a star and as long as he is playing, LA Galaxy will score goals.

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  • Obafemi Martins: The Nigerian striker was the Seattle Sounders’ top scorer last season and he will be looking to help the Sounders retain their MLS Supporters’ Shield this year. With the help of Clint Dempsey we can expect Seattle goals to be spread around again. ‘Obagoal’ will want to break the 20 goal mark in 2015 as he came close to doing so last campaign.

Close runners: 

  • Jozy Altidore: Expect the big man to find his goalscoring form now he is back home in MLS with Toronto after difficult spells with Premier League sides, Sunderland and Hull City in recent years. If he can find his feet quickly he could be unstoppable.

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  • Erick Torres: The Mexican’s impressive tally of 15 last season with Chivas led to his move to the Houston Dynamo and he will hope to recapture his form in front of goal when he eventually joins up with his new teammates.
  • Patrick Mullins: If, as mentioned above, Mullins is to play through the middle with Villa out-wide it could be another partnership like Henry and BWP. Mullins showed real promise with New England in 2014 and could be set for a big year in New York City.

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  • Clint Dempsey: Again, as mentioned above, ‘Deuce’ was in with a share of the Sounders goals last campaign and his killer instinct in the box makes him a deadly forward every time he takes to the field.
  • Gyasi Zardes: The emerging USMNT star netted 16 goals last season but he will expect to improve on that tally this season. The 23-year-old has bags of confidence and ability to go with it.

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MLS New Star: Khiry Shelton – New York City FC

Last season: College Soccer at Oregon State

Position: Striker

Last Season’s stats: 9 Goals and 12 assists in 18 appearances

Khiry Shelton was selected second overall by New York City FC in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft earlier this month after an impressive season with the Oregon State Beavers. He was also extremely impressive in the MLS Combine prior to the draft and will be playing with the likes of David Villa and Frank Lampard this coming season.

While at Oregon State, Shelton became an NSCAA All-American Second team. And showed glimpses of his potential at the MLS Combine earlier this month.

Khiry Shelton in action for the Oregon State Beavers

Khiry Shelton in action for the Oregon State Beavers

At 6’3’ he has the size to cause problems to defences across the league and he is not lacking in pace. He will provide a dynamic edge to the New York City attack in 2015 and beyond.

Hard to say how much game time he will see as New York City have David Villa and Patrick Mullins on their roster too. But when he does see the field we expect him to make an impact.

At 21, Shelton has years in front of him and New York has made a solid investment in the young striker. He is definitely a name to remember.

Will Khiry Shelton make an impact with New York City FC in 2015?

Should New England Revolution have protected Patrick Mullins?

As we all know, the New England Revolution were hit hard by the MLS Expansion Draft and have lost one of their brightest prospects in Patrick Mullins to New York City FC.

The forward almost single-handedly changed the MLS Cup Final when he entered the frame for Charlie Davies. And although the Revs lost in the end, Mullins showed what he is capable of with some good hold up play and created space to get other players in the game.

The 22-year-old netted four times in all competitions last term and although not prolific, he showed in glimpses the potential he has in his rookie season.

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When looking at their protected list ahead of the Expansion Draft, it is hard to look into who could have been substituted out to fit Mullins in as a protected player.

The two forwards who were protected, Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury, are both players who are a key part of the side and the Revs couldn’t afford to lose either of them.

New England Revolution protected players:

Goalkeeper: Bobby Shuttleworth

Defenders: Kevin Alston – Andrew Farrell – Jose Goncalves – Chris Tierney

Midfielders: Jermaine Jones – Daigo Kobayashi – Lee Nguyen – Kelyn Rowe

Forwards: Teal Bunbury – Charlie Davies

The draft was hard on New England, but it would appear they had done as much as possible to cover themselves from losing key players and given the nature of the draft it just seems as if it was something they had to accept.

Mullins will learn a lot from his new teammates David Villa and Frank Lampard, and the move will continue to improve him as an up and coming young player.

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The service from Lampard and finishing ability of Villa are areas he will benefit from no end, and playing alongside the Spaniard will be particularly crucial for his development.

The Revs will no doubt be disappointed to see him go, but couldn’t afford to lose any top performing midfielders given that their preferred system is 4-2-3-1. Bunbury is a more rounded and versatile player than Mullins at this moment in time, and Charlie Davies is the main striker and is the one who can create the unexpected.

Do you think New England were right to leave Patrick Mullins unprotected for the Expansion Draft?

Predicted New York City FC starting XI if the league began today

New York City finally have a proper squad ahead of their debut season in Major League Soccer after bulking out the numbers through yesterdays MLS Expansion Draft.

Jason Kreis now has 18 players to choose from as his side is starting to take full shape. More names will be added before the start of play in 2015, but if the league were to begin today, this is what the starting lineup would probably look like.

The current team’s players means that a 4-1-2-1-2 formation is the best option due to the lack of wide midfielders, and high number of central playing midfield men.

Goalkeeper: Ryan Meara

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Ryan Meara has joined the club from the New York Red Bulls in a loan deal that saw Expansion Draft pick Sal Zizzo move the other way on a permanent basis. Meara is a young ‘keeper at 24, but Jason Kreis may have him down as his starter between the sticks after moving to secure his services so quickly.

Right-back: Josh Williams

Josh Williams joined the club in a trade from Columbus Crew on Monday and is the only recognised right-back in the squad at the moment. He made 71 appearances for the Crew over the past five seasons and adds some much needed MLS experience to the side.

Centre-back: Jason Hernandez

New York City picked Jason Hernandez with the third pick in the Expansion Draft and he the veteran will likely slot straight in at centre-back due to his vital experience of the league. He has been in MLS for ten years and has played at least 20 times in eight of those campaigns.

Centre-back: George John

George John missed the 2014 campaign with FC Dallas but should be ready to go by the start of the new season. The 27-year-old has made 119 appearances in the league since 2009 and is another who adds much needed experience to the backline.

Left-back: Chris Wingert

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A pattern is forming across the defence here. Chris Wingert is another veteran defender with vast amounts of experience. He played under Jason Kreis at Real Salt Lake and will be a regular with NYCFC next year.

Defensive-midfield: Andrew Jacobson

Andrew Jacobson is a solid defensive midfielder who will be able to sit deep and stop opposition attacks before they develop. He has played six seasons in MLS and will need to step in and produce some solid displays with New York City next year.

Centre-midfield: Ned Grabavoy

Jason Kreis selected Ned Grabavoy with the first pick in the Expansion Draft, having worked with him at Real Salt Lake. He will be a mainstay in midfield and offers even more valuable experience to the side, having been in the league since 2004.

Centre-midfield: Frank Lampard

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The key man in midfield will be England star Frank Lampard, when he eventually joins up with the squad. Manchester City are trying to extend his loan but expect Lampard back in New York for the new season. Will need to be at his best throughout the year.

Attacking-midfield: Thomas McNamara

The eighth pick in the Expansion Draft, Thomas McNamara joins the club from DC United. He only moved to DC a few weeks ago after the Dispersal Draft but could be set for a chance to prove his worth with New York City. He score one goal in six appearances for Chivas USA last term but a more experienced playmaker could be brought in before the start of the 2015 campaign.

Forward: Patrick Mullins

Patrick Mullins was arguably the most exciting pick from the Expansion Draft. The rookie enjoyed an impressive season with New England Revolution and made a real impact in the MLS Cup Final last weekend. The 22-year-old netted four goals in 14 appearances and should be star with NYCFC.

Forward: David Villa

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Mullins will be playing alongside Spanish star David Villa next year in what should be a great partnership. Villa will be expected to light up MLS with goals, goals, and more goals. And he should deliver.

Who do you think will be in the starting lineup for New York City on the first day of the 2015 season?

Why didn’t it work for Charlie Davies in the MLS Cup Final?

The MLS Cup Final was a strange game for the New England Revolution, as we didn’t really see them get out of first gear too often. As a result, they lost in extra-time to the LA Galaxy for the third time in three finals between the clubs.

Charlie Davies was in fine form after good displays in the previous playoff rounds, scoring four, including that crucial brace against the New York Red Bulls.

His regular season form wasn’t much to go on (3 goals in 18 games), with Lee Nguyen the main outlet of goals for the Revs, which is why he was a surprise package in the playoffs.

As we predicted in our MLS Cup Final preview, he was a player who LA Galaxy would need to keep an eye on, but it wasn’t too difficult a task in the end. The Revs didn’t really have an outlet up top until Patrick Mullins replaced Davies, so Galaxy defenders Leonardo and Omar Gonzalez had little to worry about.

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A major factor of his poor performance has to be the low-key display in general from the Revs, but more importantly Lee Nguyen. Without Nguyen pulling the strings and having the Galaxy defence committing to him, Davies was unable to find any free space in behind.

Davies showed in the previous ties he was reacting well to half chances and thrived on the counter-attack – something else we didn’t see too much of from New England in the final.

Davies had one good chance on the break in the first-half but his lack of pace cost him as AJ DeLaGarza raced back in time to make a key tackle, and they may have unsettled the Revs forward.

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It has to be said that the Galaxy defence put in a really strong performance. Leonardo and Gonzalez led by example and did not give Davies an inch.

Anytime he was successful in a duel, the result of the hold up play ended up with the Galaxy quickly regaining possession.

The substitution of Patrick Mullins came at the perfect time for the Revs as the game was beginning to be stretched as they pushed for the equaliser. This in turn created more space in the final third, something Davies couldn’t utilise due to the game being tight before he was brought off.

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Mullins wasn’t afraid to run the channels, and that is what earned the goal for New England as the rookie then found Chris Tierney, who fired in the precious equaliser.

Despite a difficult performance, the Revs will be happy with Davies’s progression and they have protected him ahead of the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft.

We can expect to see New England challenging on all fronts next campaign and more from Davies will be expected throughout the 2015 season.

Why did Charlie Davies struggle against the LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup Final?

MLS Expansion Draft – Unprotected XI

By Sam Lingwood

With the 2014 MLS Expansion Draft almost upon us, we have a look at a potential lineup made of some of the best possible players left unprotected by their clubs for the draft.

New York City FC and Orlando City SC will pick ten players each in Wednesday’s Expansion Draft and we’ve picked out 11 that could find themselves on the move.

In order for this squad to be put together, a 4-1-4-1 formation has been selected. They may have been left unprotected but these players could prove valuable at one of the expansion franchises in 2015 and beyond.

MLS Expansion Draft – Unprotected XI

MLS Expansion Draft – Unprotected XI

Goalkeeper: Donovan Ricketts – Portland Timbers

The 2013 Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, you can’t look past Donovan Ricketts. He brings experience and a safe pair of hands you can rely on. Has been in MLS since 2009 and has one MLS Cup title to his name.

Right-back: Dan Gargan – LA Galaxy

Another lad who has bundles of experience at MLS level, Dan Gargan is an intriguing option. A consistently solid level of performances last term make him a standout choice if New York City or Orlando City are looking for a right-back.

Centre-backs: AJ Soares & Carlos Salcedo – New England Revolution & Real Salt Lake

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The centre-back pairing are formidable. AJ Soares had a high standard of performances last year, and is at a great age to put in even better displays at the back in the hope he can push on and win the MLS Cup in 2015 with whoever he ends up with, so long as he stays in MLS. Carlos Salcedo is a young talent who didn’t feature consistently last season. However, he’s a great prospect and with the right experience around him, he will thrive in the scenario presented.

Left-back: Heath Pearce – Montreal Impact

Heath Pearce is another experienced defender to shepherd either team through their inaugral season in Major League Soccer. He has a great CV to boast off, and at 30 he still has some good years left in the tank. A sound left-back who will get the job done if selected.

Defensive-midfield: Hendry Thomas – FC Dallas

Previous teams include Wigan Athletic when they were in the English Premier League. Hendry Thomas is a consistently high performer for his home nation Honduras and he represented them once again at the 2014 World Cup. Injury restricted him to just 10 appearances for FC Dallas in 2014 but he is worth the gamble.

Right-midfield: Diego Fagundez – New England Revolution

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Diego Fagundez is picked to play on the right wing for this lineup. The 19-year-old playmaker has plenty of pace, talent and technique. Will be around for years and could be terrorising defences with one of the expansion franchises next season.

Central-midfield: Ben Speas – Columbus Crew

Another young lad, Ben Speas put in some good performances when selected last term and the 23-year-old will be hoping for more game time next season as he looks to build and push on to greater things with whoever he plays for in 2015.

Central-midfield: Peguy Luyindula – New York Red Bulls

Peguy Luyindula may be 35-years-old but the French playmaker showed that he can still be a difference-maker during the MLS Playoffs this season. Five goals and one assist in 26 regular appearances in 2014 make Luyindula an interesting option. He then netted three goals in five playoff games for the Red Bulls before they were knocked out by New England.

Left-midfield: Bobby Convey – New York Red Bulls

Bobby Convey offers some more EPL experience after spending five years with Reading before returning to MLS in 2009. At 31, he still has some talent left in the tank to help see either New York City FC and Orlando City succeed in their debut season.

Forward: Patrick Mullins – New England Revolution

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Patrick Mullins put in a great performance off the bench in the MLS Cup Final on Sunday and the rookie was impressively consistent in his first season. Looking forward to bigger and better things from this lad next year.

This looks like a good team, playing a solid formation and they would probably do well as a squad in MLS. It will be great to see who is chosen in Wednesday’s draft and how they all get on next year.

How well would the Unprotected XI do if they were an MLS side – how many of them will be selected on Wednesday?

Takeaways from The Revs fifth Straight win as they beat DC United

New England Revolution recorded their fifth straight win on Saturday night, extending their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference to five points and look comfortable. There was a lot to take away from this game, they are as follows:

1. Patrick Mullins can play!

The 22 year-old rookie makes playing up front alone look easy, as he bagged his fourth goal in as many games.

He seems to thrive on scraps and brings people into attacks brilliantly. His hold up play is sublime and the counter-attacking style of the Revs suits him perfectly.

2. Lee Nguyen for MVP?

The midfielder single-handedly controls the tempo of the game and seems unstoppable on the ball.

The rest of the league has yet to shut him down, mainly down to his free-roaming style. With Andy Dorman sitting deeper, it allows Nguyen to advance and open up defenses.

He is already looking like the MVP with New England flying.

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3. Eddie Johnson has lost the plot.

EJ was sent off last night for a stupid reaction in which he kicked out at Kelyn Rowe.

This is the second time in three games the striker has been subject to frustration and as a result suspended, as he left his foot in on Montreal impact ‘keeper Troy Perkins just last week.

Johnson needs to clear his head while serving his suspension, and forget about the disappointment of the World Cup squad, as DC will need him this season.

4. Why was Fabian Espindola on the bench?

Despite coming on and scoring the equaliser, DC fans will be severely questioning Ben Olsen’s decision to bench him.

Espindola is DC’s top scorer this season with six goals, and was instrumental mid-week when they managed to record a 2-0 win against Houston Dynamo.

He may have been fatigued from that game, but would have surely been desperate to start again, as any striker would, and this could have changed the shape of the game.

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5. Can anyone stop the Revolution?

New England is a well-oiled machine, and seems to be optimising Jay Heap’s philosophy to great effect.

The counter-attack approach works so well, as the Revs invite teams onto them before exploding onto their opposition on turnovers.

It will take a lot to stop this outfit, with them set to continue this great run of five wins on the bounce, especially as they are not affected by the World Cup.

Highlights via MLS on YouTube: