New England Soccer Today

Technically Speaking: #NEvCLB

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Welcome back to another edition of Technically Speaking, where our very own resident coach and former pro Rick Sewall takes a deeper look into the Revolution’s latest performance.

Have any questions you’d like Rick to address? Let us know in the comments section below.

What was the biggest issue behind the Revs’ offensive struggles?

Rick: I can think of three issues of (more or less) equal importance:

First, the Revs needed Chris Tierney’s crossing ability and his corner kicks, especially in-swingers (Lee Nguyen’s corner at the 86th minute surely needed a lot of improvement). The Revs didn’t have a natural left–footer on either wing for the entire match.

Second, I would like to have seen Juan Agudelo and Charlie Davies (probably the Revs’ two major scoring threats) on the field together for longer than the 10 or so minutes they had. This two-barreled approach might have worked.

Third, Lee Nguyen had a pretty good game, but opponents are paying more attention to him this year, getting in his way, often denying him the penetrating pass.

As tough as it was for the Revs to create chances, their defense did well to prevent chances for Columbus. What did the Revs do effectively to contain the Crew?

Rick: I give high praise to the back four of Darrius Barnes, Jose Goncalves, Andrew Farrell, and Kevin Alston, and to the defensive midfielders of Jermaine Jones (Andy Dorman in the second half) and Scott Caldwell. Anytime your defense is able to keep a strong opponent from getting a shot on goal for a whole game is darned good work. Farrell, the man of the match (and deservedly so) had his best game. His ball possession skills (passing and dribbling) are improving, and if he had more confidence in his shot on goal, he would be on the way to becoming a complete player.

Even though Bobby Shuttleworth didn’t have to make any stops, he showed his value to the Revs when he snatched the ball off Aaron Schoenfeld’s chest in the 94th minute. Bobby is always focused.

It was nice to see Diego Fagundez stuff Frederico Higuain defensively in the second half and then make a very nice pass to Charlie Davies.

How much stock do you put into the wind’s impact on the game?

Rick: This game reminded me of the Kansas City-Revs tussle of two years ago – another 0-0 tie, played under conditions similar to those on Saturday. Any time you combine a lot of wind with artificial turf, the game will be made more difficult for players. The ball will all too frequently roll out of control, making it difficult to pass it with the proper pace.

In general, bad field conditions – whether from wind, rain, extreme temperatures – work to the disadvantage of the favored team. They have a neutralizing effect. In this particular match-up, I would say the wind helped the Revs, because through the course of the game – especially the first half hour – the Crew were the better team.

How do you think Jermaine Jones performed during his first 45 minutes of the season?

Rick: Jermaine put in a steady, error-free performance for the first 45 minutes. I would say he is 80 to 85% of the way back from his February operation. His best play was the pass to Teal Bunbury in the penalty area. It’s great to have him back – they need his captaining influence at midfield badly.

What stood out the most to you from Saturday’s game?

Rick: First, these are two very evenly-matched teams. Both have three to four players who would be sure starters for the other team; Nguyen, Agudelo, Jones, and Shuttleworth could easily start for Crew; Kamara, Higuain, Tshani, and Parkhurst for the Revs. I would be very surprised if either team failed to make the playoffs.

Second, the Revs see themselves as a team that plays possession soccer, so I was surprised and a little depressed that they had so little of the ball for about the first half hour. They played the Crew on fairly even terms for the remainder of the game, but one could argue that this first half-hour lapse (one third of the game) cost the Revs dearly.

Third, any time I see a game played in these conditions, involving both weather and an artificial-turf playing surface, I long for a soccer-specific 27,000-seat stadium with a full-sized natural grass field, protected from wind as much as possible.


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