New England, our Revs seem to have a new set of challenges. Seattle played a somewhat defensive game looking to jump on any opportunity, which they did. Also a fairly physical match, the Revs couldn’t create much space near goal. Jay Heaps called it “an emotional game.” The Revolution can score goals, it’s the timing of our scoring that needs improving.
Reis and Soares do not seem to be communicating well. Reis did start the game hyped up and pushing the ball forward quickly, even playing a ball with his feet out to the sideline then powering it up to the other end of the field. Lechner’s misjudged collection of a bouncing ball morphed into a turnover that lead to the first goal, tying the score at one apiece. On the other hand, Stephen McCarthy continued his stretch of solid performances. That is as welcome a development as the seeming deteriorations elsewhere along the backline are worrisome.
I am not a fan of the 4-5-1 formation with the Revs personnel. We did not dominate the middle of the field despite Simms, Joseph, and Feilhaber all on patrol. To be fair, with Alonso in the middle a lot of Seattle’s play starts with turnovers that he creates. For us, Lee Nguyen has been solid on the left – it seems like all season long. He has locked down a starting spot and put in another good performance moving the ball forward, building scoring opportunities. I don’t think the experiment with Sene as a right wing was productive, though I do think that he has to show more from the right side in general. I wonder if Sene and Nguyen couldn’t switch sides if Heaps continues with this formation? Sene is clearly more confident in his left foot, and justifiably so.
Up front we did create some chances. We took the lead with a great finish by Saer Sene in the 12th minute. Sene worked a give-and-go with Brettschnieder right through the middle of the Sounders’ defense. Sene immediately crashed towards goal after getting the ball into our young target forward. Brettschnieder held onto the ball, worked through a tackle and found space with the ball in front of him. I understand why Brettschnieder started as our lone target forward while Sene was positioned further back – the second year man is making the most of each experience and clearly continuing to develop.
With Seattle up 2-1 before halftime, our Revs found themselves searching for a tying goal. Again. Our midfield possesion perked up, though Seattle may have backed off on the road with a lead. Unlike the first goal when Brettschnieder powered his way across the 18 yard line, we couldn’t seem to break the Sounder’s backline. Rowe, Cardenas, and Fagundez came on as subs, and all contributed to the pressure that New England mustered up. Despite facing a late-game deficit for the second week in a row, the Revolution pushed and pushed for another goal. That belief in themselves and eachother, that commitment to their ability will serve us well in the future. This week we earned our fourth tie and for the second week in a row we grabbed it after the 90th minute. Cardenas sent a cross in from the left, and though Sene seemed to get pushed down, Diego Fagundez was right there. Diego pounded in the goal and turned a home loss and zero points into a comeback tie.
White the grit and determination to come from behind for a result is a great demonstration of this team’s spirit, we have to avoid falling behind or waiting until the last gasp. Defensive missteps are going to happen, we have to try to minimized them. Everyone on the field for New England has to know their responsibilities defensively and communicate with eachother. More worrying for me than the goals we let in we’re the goals we did not score. At the other end of the field I would like a bit more care with the ball, let’s create solid chances instead of trying to thread the ball through three or four of the opposition. Also, when we do get an open look we have to put shots on target. Scoring and spirit have gotten us into the conversation about the final playoff spot. Let’s stop the rest of the league talking about our opponents collapsing against us. Let’s make everyone talk about New England.
(image courtesy of Getty Images)