Goalkeepers 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. Defense 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. Midfield 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. Forwards 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. Setting the Scene After sliding down the table over the past couple of years, the Revolution tumbled all the way down to the bottom of the Eastern Conference in 2011. The repercussions from another disappointing campaign drastically impacted the offseason activities. Veteran coach Steve Nicol departed the club after 10 largely successful seasons. Former defender and TV analyst Jay Heaps replaced him, while president Brian Bilello and general manager Michael Burns moved into revamped front office roles. Several players also made way to create room for Fernando Cárdenas, John Lozano, Säer Sène and Clyde Simms as the Revs plotted a new course for 2012. In and Out IN: M/F Fernando Cárdenas (loan/América de Cali) D John Lozano (loan/América de Cali) F José Moreno(loan/Once Caldas)* D Tyler Polak(SuperDraft/Generation adidas/Creighton) M Alec Purdie (supplemental draft/Indiana) F Mike Roach(supplemental draft/Saint Louis) M Kelyn Rowe (SuperDraft/Generation adidas/UCLA) F Säer Sène (Bayern Munich) M Clyde Simms (Re-Entry Stage 2/D.C. United) M Rick Smith (supplemental draft/Bethel Univ.) * – loan deal scheduled to start on March 1 OUT: F Milton Caraglio (option declined/C.S.D. Rangers) D Ryan Cochrane (option declined/San Antonio Scorpions) D Franco Coria (option declined/unattached) F Kheli Dube (Re-Entry Stage 2/Chicago) F Alan Koger(option declined/unattached) F Rajko Lekic (option declined/Lyngby) D Otto Loewy (option declined/unattached) M Pat Phelan (option declined/unattached) M Andrew Sousa (option declined/unattached) M Monsef Zerka(option declined/unattached) COACHING INS: coach Jay Heaps, assistant coach Jay Miller, strength and conditioning coach Nick Downing COACHING OUTS: coach Steve Nicol, assistant coaches Stephen Myles and Peter Fuller Star Attraction: Benny Feilhaber Heaps' insistence on a short passing game should benefit Feilhaber as he starts his first full season in MLS. The US international schemer possesses the creativity to marshal the attacking proceedings, but he will need plenty of support from the likes of Shalrie Joseph and Kelyn Rowe to ensure opposing teams do not focus solely upon restricting his time and space on the ball. Unsung Hero: Chris Tierney The versatile left-sider (pictured at right) has plugged plenty of holes during his previous four seasons with the Revolution, but he will likely draw a regular assignment at left back in 2012. It isn't the easiest of transitions for the natural midfielder and he will have to work diligently to carry out his permanent defensive duties. One silver lining for Tierney: the 26-year-old should enjoy plenty of license to push up the field and swing enticing crosses into dangerous areas. Ready for Primetime: Kelyn Rowe The US U-23 international midfielder has settled well into Heaps' squad after completing his Olympic team duties in January. His technical ability dovetails nicely with the club's current brief to keep the ball on the ground, while his versatility opens up options in midfield. He will receive every chance to stake a claim for a regular place if he continues to perform as he has done so far during preseason. Storylines to Watch 1. How will the José Moreno transfer saga conclude? Revolution officials landed Moreno's signature on a loan deal in early February, but the Once Caldas striker has reportedly expressed some reluctance to join the club when his contract starts on March 1. If he doesn't arrive, then the Revs will have to locate a suitable replacement to lead the line. 2. What impact will Heaps have on the squad? The new boss has injected his energy into the group and implemented his vision from Day 1, but he must still to prove his ability to manage his squad and weather the inevitable difficulties over the long haul. What He Said “We have a lot to accomplish, but we're getting there. We're still, obviously, a couple of players short of where we want to be. Some of it, we still have work left to do. Some of it, it's still a waiting game right now.” – Revolution coach Jay Heaps, on the state of his squad heading into the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Classic and the start of the season. If Everything Goes Right: This rebuilding effort likely won't yield immediate results. If everything breaks the right way and the Revs secure further reinforcements during the summer, then a playoff push isn't entirely out of the question. Without those additional signings and a few strokes of luck, the Revs will likely struggle once again.