D.C. United are traveling to New England as we speak, so we talked to Steve Stoehr of The Bent Musket to get the lowdown on all things Revolution. For my answers to Steve's questions, head on over to The Bent Musket.
B&RU: The Jermaine Jones at center back experiment has come to New England, and it didn't look good on Wednesday; why, and is this a long term thing?
TBM: Well, first of all, it had better not be long-term. Everyone seems to be talking about how Jermaine is a natural midfielder, how they want him in midfield, and Jermaine feels more comfortable there. That said, no one within the organization seems to want to address the elephant in the room that's been there since A.J. Soares announced his intent to leave the league at the end of last year: the defense is paper-thin, and Jermaine's the only guy who can slot in to cover. As a result, I would say that the Jones "experiment" at center-back shouldn't be a long-term thing.
At this point, if anyone in the organization disagrees, they aren't fit for their jobs. He's not working out there essentially because his entire style of play is predicated upon being aggressive and covering ground. The things he does well in midfield - make bombing runs, take risks in the tackle, fly around the pitch - are things that are enormous weaknesses in defense. He's out of position often, forgets that he's the last line of defense and dwells on the ball, and is generally atrocious defending the ball in the air. At the end of the day, he needs to be in midfield where he belongs.
B&RU: Similarly, what is going on with Diego Fagundez?
TBM: If you can answer that question, I'll pay you. Diego was so good in 2013, and that was the natural progression of his career at that point. If you'd have asked me at the end of that season, "where do you see Diego Fagundez in 2015?" I'd have said either a domestic DP or overseas. He's just not getting much of anything right.
Part of the problem is the predictability of his game. Teams scouted the 2013 Fagundez and in 2014, they played him like the one-dimensional slasher that he was, and he suffered for it. Diego loves to cut inside, even on his weaker foot, and try to dribble his way to the top of the box or play cheeky short passes to get an opening in. What he needed to do was start going wide, start making more direct runs, and change up his strategy a bit, not because these were better ideas but because it forces defenses to play you more conservatively. When that happens, he can rip you open on the dribble or with a deft cut.
To his credit, Diego has started to do that, along with working harder defensively. The problem is now he seems to have lost confidence, which is something he never lacked before. The 9th-minute miss on a wide-open cross from Woodberry against KC, where he shanked it wide with the whole goal looming, was particularly telling. Even worse, he completely disappeared from the match after that. You've got to feel for the kid; he needs a lucky break to remind him that he's talented and he can still score. The question is: when will that break come? He's playing himself out of minutes.
B&RU: Wednesday night meltdown aside (or not), how is Jay Heaps doing? Are we going to see Tommy Soehn as head coach this weekend?
TBM: Jay is Jay, which is to say that he's not doing bad at all, but sometimes he does or says things that just make you scratch your head. I think that's endemic of most coaches in this league, though. For Jay, it's always been all about emotion, and that was what you saw on Wednesday night. He had an emotional response to what he felt was a bad call and a bad play, and went off.
That doesn't make it okay. The Revolution lost their composure bad on Wednesday night, especially after the second goal and then the penalty, and at the very moment that they needed to be able to look to the dugout and see a fixed point keeping them steady, they saw their coach throwing an epic tantrum. Everyone is human, and no one is immune to meltdowns caused by Alan Chapman's incredible ineptitude, but you simply cannot let it get the best of you like that.
As far as a suspension, I don't think you see it. I would not, however, be surprised if he got fined. ESPN2 gleefully caught his entire tirade on national television, and it was not at all difficult to read his lips.
B&RU: Lineup and prediction?
TBM: Lineup: Shuttleworth; Tierney, Goncalves, Farrell, Woodberry; Jones, Caldwell; Agudelo, Nguyen, Bunbury; Davies
Prediction: 2-1 Revs. I think they come back strong and angry, but D.C. is too good not to make it a game.