New England Soccer Today

HT Adjustments Key for Revs in DDC Finale

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Months from now, what transpired in Saturday’s Revolution-Red Bulls preseason finale will largely be forgotten by many. But the match itself may have a lasting effect on the victors according to one of its key actors.

Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe, who scored the opening goal in the 52nd minute, was far from impressed by the way his team operated in the first 45 minutes against a reserve-laden Red Bulls squad. But the Revolution was able to make the necessary adjustments in the second half, a development that Rowe believes could be good omen for the regular season.

“(It’s important) especially during the middle of the season when everyone’s kind of tired, or the end of the season when we’re really pushing to get a playoff spot or get that first two spots in the East,” Rowe told the media after the match. “We’ve got to be able to make adjustments mid-game. I think we did that very well.”

While the first half wasn’t exactly a comedy of errors for the Revolution, it wasn’t their best half of football, either. Yes, there were moments of promise, but the final product simply wasn’t there.

The hiccups weren’t limited to the final third, either. Perhaps it was due to the fact that they weren’t playing the Red Bulls first-teamers, leaving the Revolution overconfident. Whatever it was, the locals seemed to come out soft during the first half.

“We played two different halves,” Revolution center back Antonio Mlinar Delamea told the media after the match. “The first half wasn’t good from us. I think the biggest problem was that we were losing second balls. We let them pressure us the whole time and we had problems, as you can see.”

Revolution coach Jay Heaps took stock of the situation, and wasn’t shy to address the situation during the interval.

“We needed to make some adjustments,” Heaps told the media after match. “We didn’t start the game real well in terms of a positive way about us. So it was good to have a good conversation at halftime, and a good response from the team.”

Much of that response came from the midfielders and forwards, who exerted additional pressure on the young and untested Red Bulls.

“But the second half, I think we stepped higher, we tried to press them,” Delamea said. “We pushed them into two mistakes that led to the goal.”

The first led to a sequence in which Diego Fagundez played a well-weighted ball through to Rowe, who easily beat keeper Rafael Diaz in the 52nd minute.

While Kei Kamara and Lee Nguyen both left chances worthy of the big-eyed emoji on the pitch, the second time was the charm for Nguyen in the 89th minute as Je-Vaughn Watson advanced deep into New York territory before putting it in front of the attacking midfielder for the simple finish.

It’s far too early to tell whether the adjustments seen in Saturday’s game will become the Revolution’s calling card in 2017. As far as Delamea’s concerned, seeing a similar reaction in next weekend’s First Kick clash in Colorado will suffice for the time being.

“We need be able to have those mid-game changes throughout the whole year,” Delamea said. “But this first game especially.”

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