For the next two weeks, MLSsoccer.com will preview each of the 19 teams in Major League Soccer, beginning with the clubs that brought up the bottom of the table in 2011 and ending with the league's newest addition, the Montreal Impact. This is part two of two previewing the New England Revolution's 2012 season. You can find Part 1 here.
Depth Chart: 1. Reis, 2. Shuttleworth, 3. Murray
Strengths: Reis has stood out as one of the best goalkeepers in the league over the past decade and showed that quality in flashes last season. Shuttleworth received valuable match experience over the past two campaigns.
Weaknesses: Reis has struggled to stay fit over the past couple of seasons. The club, on the whole, has struggled when Shuttleworth has deputized (2-7-3 in 12 starts).
Wildcard: It usually takes a couple of years for a goalkeeper to find his footing at this level and Shuttleworth has cobbled together enough experience to potentially take the next step forward in 2012.
Depth Chart: RB: 1. Alston, 2. Barnes; CB: 1. Soares – Lozano, 2. Barnes, 3. McCarthy; LB: 1. Tierney, 2. Barnes, 3. Polak
Strengths: This group will benefit from the presumably solid partnership of Lozano and Soares after a year filled with chopping and changing in central defense. Alston performs his defensive duties well at right back, while Tierney offers plenty of service on the left.
Weaknesses: Depth remains a critical concern in all four spots at the moment. If injury strikes, the unit could suffer significantly from a lack of natural cover. Alston (going forward) and Tierney (staying back) face questions about one segment of their play coming into the season, while Lozano's dearth of pace will place significant stress on his positioning in the middle.
Wildcard: Barnes picked up the slack last season when injuries and poor form struck. He could find himself in the lineup just as often this season if similar worries appear yet again.
SEE: Preseason Schedule
Depth Chart: LM: 1. Rowe, 2. Cárdenas, 3. Mansally; CM: 1. Simms – Feilhaber – Joseph; 2. McCarthy; RM: 1. Nyassi, 2. Rowe, 3. Guy
Strengths: Simms' offseason arrival gives Heaps plenty of flexibility in his midfield group with four- and five-man options on the table. Technical quality also appears as a particular strength with Feilhaber and Joseph patrolling the middle, while Rowe will certainly lend further support from his wider starting positions.
Weaknesses: This group lacks natural width, particularly with Guy hurt for much of training camp and Nyassi currently sidelined with a hamstring complaint. Rowe's tendency to tuck into the middle of the field could leave his supporting fullback exposed on quick counterattacks.
Wildcard: Simms could see far more of the field than many people expect heading into the season. His presence in the squad could see the Revs tinker with a five-man setup in the early stages, though there isn't a target man currently available to lead the line and a pair of forwards ultimately appears more likely to carry the day by midseason.
Depth Chart: 1. Sène; 2. Cárdenas; 3. Schilawski; 4. Fagundez
Strengths: Each of the potential candidates offers something different to the attack. Sène's pace, in particular, could supply a necessary quality in a side that has struggled to stretch the field vertically in recent years.
Weaknesses: There isn't a proven goalscorer at this level or a target option in the group. Cárdenas isn't particularly potent in front of goal (six goals in 82 appearances in Colombia) despite his quality on the ball.
Wildcard: José Moreno could boost this group significantly if he fulfills his contractual obligations and links up on loan from Once Caldas. His arrival would give the Revs an experienced target man to facilitate play and a potential plunderer in front of goal. If he does arrive sometime in March, then Heaps could shift to a 4-4-2 setup with one of the midfielders dropping out of the side.