New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps has made some very interesting lineup decisions ahead of Sunday night's match with the New York Red Bulls. With the injury report full of several prominent names, Heaps did some considerable reshuffling to field a full and balanced side.
In an altogether unexpected move, Matt Reis will start the game on the bench, while Bobby Shuttleworth will get his first competitive appearance of the 2012 season in goal. Reis was not listed as injured on Friday and no word has yet been given on whether or not Reis picked up an injury in the meantime. Speculation will undoubtedly fly that perhaps Heaps is sending a message to Reis after the normally-reliable keeper exhibited some weaknesses in the last couple of games, but at this point any talk of that nature would be unsubstantiated.
Shalrie Joseph will also start the match on the bench, something he hasn't done since the Dark Ages. This is a little more explainable, however, given that he was listed as doubtful on the Friday injury report with a left knee sprain. Also, Kevin Alston will start at right-back, despite a questionable listing due to the hamstring injury he suffered two weeks ago in Toronto.
Perhaps the most exciting news of the night is that Jerry Bengtson, New England's brand-new Designated Player signing, is on the bench. Evidently his ITC and P-1 Visa came through this weekend, and the team was cleared to include him in the 18 for this match. It would be a good bet to expect that Bengtson will make an appearance in this match.
On the New York side, neither Thierry Henry or Rafa Marquez are in the squad for this matchup. That isn't at all surprising, considering Henry (unofficially) never plays on turf, and there was plenty of talk about how Marquez was going to miss out on this game throughout the week.
Revolution: Shuttleworth; Alston, Stephen McCarthy, A.J. Soares, Chris Tierney; Kelyn Rowe, Benny Feilhaber, Clyde Simms (captain), Lee Nguyen; Blake Brettschneider, Saer Sene
Bench: Reis, Barnes, Bengtson, Cardenas, Fagundez, Guy, Joseph
Red Bulls: Ryan Meara; Brandon Barklage, Stephen Keel, Wilman Conde, Roy Miller; Mehdi Ballouchy, Connor Lade, Joel Lindpere, Dax McCarty; Kenny Cooper, Dane Richards
Bench: Vuolo, Arteaga, Borrajo, Maduro, Palsson, Ruthven