By Eric Krakauer
Overview: It would be unfair to expect great things from the Revolution, given last season’s complete overhaul. Jay Heaps has stamped his philosophy on the team, and although he did reasonably well with the talent at his disposal, he was often criticized for lacking the experience and tactical acumen to adjust his strategy when needed. The off-season has deepened the roster, especially in midfield. MLS nomad Chad Barrett, and Welsh international Andy Dorman have come in to inject some experience to the squad. But it is from Lee Nguyen, Jerry Bengtson, and draftee Andrew Farrell from whom much is expected. Last season, Nguyen showed flashes of the player he can become, but he must become more consistent. The same is true for Bengtson, who must mimic his form with Honduran team, Motagua. Farrell will almost certainly make the jump to MLS starter, right away. Trial by fire is hardly the best way to adapt a player, but Heaps may have little choice but to do so.
Key Player: In a team where player quality is questioned, it’s essential to have a proven professional. Mali international Kalifa Cisse has European experience, having played in Portugal, and in England’s Premier League. His pedigree, and adaptability – he can play both in midfield and defense – should make him a leader by default.