New England Soccer Today

Three Thoughts: #MTLvNE

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

1. The Revolution were as sloppy as we’ve seen them in a while- The defending especially was not up to par with the type of soccer the Revolution have been playing over their recent seven-game unbeaten run. Montreal may have entered the game with the league’s worst record, but their players aren’t incapable; the Impact’s midfielders in particularly took advantage of some ill-advised, errant plays at that back. Look at the highlights again, there was nothing pretty about either of Montreal’s goals. Jose Goncalves, the reigning league Defender of the Year, allowed Revolution-killer Jack McInerney plenty of time and space to pummel Montreal’s second goal into the back of the net. Andrew Farrell and A.J. Soares gave Marco DiVaio far too much time on the ball as well (though Soares’ block on DiVaio late in the first half was pure class). Suffice to say, the Revolution won’t win games playing the way they did in that first half.

2. Montreal figured out how the Revolution’s midfield works- The Revolution’s attack comes from its robust and dynamic midfield. All the cylinders have to be clicking for it to work properly. To stall the engine, Montreal took Andy Dorman, Lee Nguyen, and Kelyn Rowe out of the game. They forced Dorman to stay back and defend so he couldn’t help in transitions, repeatedly tackled and hacked at Nguyen, and constantly double or triple-teamed Rowe. It’s no wonder that in the first half, when they were playing sloppy and were getting overrun in midfield by Montreal, that they only managed one shot on target. Bringing on Daigo Kobayashi in the second half helped, but by then, Montreal abandoned their strategy to mark tightly on the Revolution’s midfielders. When a team drops back the way Montreal did, the chances will come. Dorman, Nguyen, and Rowe got more of the ball, they were just unable to breakthrough a sea of blue once the Impact parked the bus.

3. All streaks end, but how good are the Revolution?- Today was MLS’ official (unofficial?) day to end streaks. Real Salt Lake’s impressive season-long unbeaten run came to a screeching halt as they were outclassed and outplayed by the Seattle Sounders. The Revolution didn’t suffer as badly as RSL, but ultimately had their positive run snapped. One takeaway is that this game was clearly a trap game. It took nearly two months, but someone finally figured out the Revolution. Make no mistake, they didn’t only lose because they weren’t sharp; au contraire, Montreal had the class and experience on the field to really challenge the Revolution. The outlook, however, is that the Revolution will either push this result aside and focus on the next match or that this is the start of a crash. Hot streaks happen. Good teams are relatively consistent. Mediocre teams have hot streaks, fizzle out, and that’s it. The near future, especially the month of July, will be a good barometer for what kind of team the 2014 New England Revolution actually are.

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3 Comments

  1. Vudoo

    June 1, 2014 at 9:08 am

    I blame coach Heaps on this one. The key thing that’s made the Revs a good team this year has been the midfield. The strength of the midfield is their ability to combine, hence team chemistry and players understanding of each other’s tendencies are important. Kobayashi has been great this year combining with Nguyen and Dorman. No fault to Rowe and he did ok starting the game but starting Rowe changed chemistry in the midfield and it showed in the first half. Rowe is simply a different player than Kobayashi. He gets the ball, puts his head down and goes full speed towards goal which makes him predictable. In my opinion, Rowe would be more suited playin right midfield in this system that Heaps likes to play… So he would replace Bunbury if he comes in and not Kobayashi.
    It’s true that after goin up 2-0, MTL pulled back to defend the lead, but you can’t help but notice the chemistry improve when Kobayashi came in.
    Rowe should be used as a sub when a change is needed to spark something different but Heaps can’t stray away from what’s been working for him.

  2. rick Sewall

    June 2, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Vudoo, very astute comments. Rowe is the scoring threat, Kobayashi the cerebral player, which means Heaps has a problem if he has to choose the starter from the two for all the reasons you discussed, especially when you say Kobayashi means a lot to the Rev midfield. Nonetheless, most coaches would rather have this problem than others I can think of.

    Maybe Rowe could be a striker.

  3. Robert

    June 2, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    Everyone is in agreement. It’s no coincidence that the offense stuttered without Daigo in the starting lineup. Kobyashi has proven to be a pass first playmaker who helps create an efficiently run machine when paired with Nguyen.

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