The New England Revolution have a mountain to climb as they take on Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night, and head coach Jay Heaps has decided to take what appears to be some serious gambles with his lineup. Part of his lineup shuffling may be due to the fact that this is his team's third match in seven days, but there is no avoiding that this lineup looks like a clear message to certain members of the squad.
Most notably, Saer Sene is not in the starting lineup. This will be the first match Sene hasn't started in probably months, and it definitely seems like a dangerous decision to bench the team's leading goalscorer. It is possible that Sene just needs a rest - he was subbed off against Montreal on Wednesday - but with Sene goalless since June 30th (and that was a goal that shouldn't have counted), the idea has to be crossing everyone's mind that Heaps is sending Sene a message.
Stephen McCarthy returns to the lineup after a short layoff due to concussion symptoms. Interestingly, he has not replaced Darrius Barnes. Barnes moved out to left-back, while Chris Tierney has slotted into the midfield. Looking at the lineup (and according to Jeff Lemieux), Ryan Guy will not be playing in midfield, but as a lone striker, supported by Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, and Tierney.
Revolution: Matt Reis; Barnes, McCarthy, A.J. Soares, Kevin Alston; Tierney, Shalrie Joseph, Benny Feilhaber, Nguyen, Rowe; Guy
Bench: Shuttleworth, Lechner, Fagundez, Nyassi, Brettschneider, Sene, Cardenas
Sporting: Jimmy Nielsen; Seth Sinovic, Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin, Michael Harrington; Paulo Nagamura, Graham Zusi, Jacob Peterson; Bobby Convey, C.J. Sapong, Kei Kamara
Bench: Kronberg, Bunbury, Olum, Saad, Markovic, Cesar, Thomas