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Previewing the New York Red Bulls vs New England Revolution with The Bent Musket

While the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution haven't had much resembling a rivalry in the last few years, both teams are in need of three points but in very different positions entering tonight's game. Thanks to Steve Stoehr of The Bent Musket for exchanging a few questions ahead of New York's first of three matches against New England. You can read some of our thoughts heading into the game here.

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Once a Metro: New England has allowed just two goals in their first five games against opponents including FC Dallas, Sporting Kansas City, and the Seattle Sounders. What are your defenders eating for breakfast and is it available in New York?

Bent Musket: Wheaties, and no. In reality, I'm still not convinced this defense is as good as advertised. The Revs have been relying pretty heavily on goalkeeping heroics, and with Kevin Alston no longer in the lineup, there's a serious vulnerability to speed on the left flank (your right if you're attacking). Jose Goncalves and Bobby Shuttleworth put in some transcendent performances against Seattle last week, but even with those, it was almost miraculous that the Rave Green didn't score. Had their finishing been better, that would have been a loss. That said, you can't argue with two goals conceded in five games, I guess.

Once a Metro: Matt Reis has missed the Revolution's last three games. How has Bobby Shuttleworth looked in his place? Are you expecting a competition for the starting GK spot as the season progresses?

Bent Musket: Bobby looked stellar against Seattle, but he was shaky in his other appearances. Honestly, I expected more competition for the starting spot, but Reis has looked like the guy in his limited time. It's a matter of managing his health at this point. However, if Bobby can repeat performances like the one he turned in last week, it's really going to be his job to lose.

The thing about Bobby is that he's big and strong, and last season it was evident that he was better than Reis at commanding the box and going aerial. This season, his command and judgment has been questionable, but if he gets that back on track, then he's on the same level as any average MLS keeper, with some upside.

Once a Metro: Jerry Bengtson's first MLS game was against New York and he scored a goal in his thirty-minute stint off the bench. How important has he been to New England so far and how critical is he to the team's long-term success?

Bent Musket: People will tell you that he's totally critical and essential to the Revs and getting him to score consistently is the offense's top priority. People close to the organization or in the organization will tell you that. People paying attention will tell you that he's been a black hole. That's not a commentary on his talent, but he simply has not produced at a level that would make him an important part of this team. His lack of goals isn't entirely his fault, either; Bengtson's a poacher, and a combination of poor service and a lack of rebounds have meant that the opportunities have been hard to come by.

Going forward, he could become incredibly important to the 2013 season if he starts scoring. That's really what it comes down to. If he starts scoring goals - especially with how anemic this offense has been - he'll become the most important player on the roster.

Once a Metro: What's your projected starting lineup and final score prediction?

Bent Musket: Shuttleworth; Tierney, Goncalves, Soares, Farrell; Rowe, Cissé, Toja, Simms, Nguyen; Bengtson. 0-0 draw. You guys can't score on us, and we can't score on anybody.