New England Soccer Today

Going back to Cali

Fresh off a pair of 3-2 victories, a rejuvenated Revolution (2-2-3, 9 pts.) will step onto the Home Depot Center pitch hoping to continue their winning ways against Chivas USA (1-2-3, 6 pts.) Saturday night.

Although it may have taken Goats over a month to register their first league victory (a 2-1 win over San Jose last weekend), the Revs will nevertheless have their work cut out for them. Chivas, despite their lackluster record, have limited their opponents to only two goals in their past four matches and are riding the momentum a four-game unbeaten streak.

So with both clubs entering Saturday night’s match with newfound confidence, what’ll the Revs have to do to prove that they’re the superior squad?

For starters, they’ll have to continue employing the form that saw them claim their 3-2 victory over Sporting Kansas City. With newly-acquired Benny Feilhaber in the mix, the Revolution midfield was methodical rather than messy. Their form was fluid, the ideas were sound, and the runs were sharp. To exploit the Goats’ propensity to sit back and counterattack, the midfield will have to open up the field and stretch the Chivas defense in order to find chances.

Another aspect of their game that the Revs will have to continue to focus on is the passing game. With three different players getting assists on the three goals scored during the course of Saturday night’s match, it’s clear that the service that was missing earlier this season is starting to improve.

One area of concern is the Revs defense. Although the back four has put in some good performances during first weeks of the season, they’ve allowed some embarrassingly soft goals in recent weeks. Whether it was Kei Kamara’s 14th minute strike last weekend, or Paulo Jr.’s 47th strike during April 9th Real Salt Lake match, the Revs have to clamp down in the defending third to thwart any opportunistic goals that scoring-starved Chivas will certainly search for on Saturday.

Additionally, the Revs will have to avoid making the same critical mistake they made against Portland and Vancouver: underestimating their opponent. Sure, it took Chivas six tries before they found the win column. But the Revs have only beaten the Goats once on the West Coast – a 2-1 win back on May 11, 2008 – since Chivas entered the league in 2005.

Saturday’s match will be a stiff test for the Revs. Chivas, whose defense makes up for its lack of playmakers, will be hoping to suffocate the Revs attack and squeak by with a 1-0 victory. In order to avoid that, the Revs really have to focus on just one thing: keep doing what they’re doing.

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