New England Soccer Today

A Bold Approach

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

The Revolution’s offense last weekend was fueled by three things: Charlie Davies’s nose for goal, Lee Nguyen’s persistence, and the team’s overall ability to create and convert chances when play opens up.

That combination of factors meant that Columbus, even with its talented midfield, simply couldn’t keep up, as the Revolution picked up an impressive 4-2 road victory in game one of the conference semifinal series. Goals from Chris Tierney and Nguyen were sandwiched in between tallies by Davies, who scored in each half.

The offensive surge meant that Columbus never led, though Justin Meram shortened the Revolution’s lead in the second half, and Federico Higuain put away a penalty kick in stoppage time to give the Crew a fighting chance going into the second leg.

The back-and-forth, wide-open play made for an entertaining match for even the most casual observer, but the offensively-charged affair clearly suited the Revolution’s style of play.

“It was a battle all the way through, a lot of goals and a lot of chances,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told the media after the match. “I thought we probably could have had more. In the end, you want to get goals and get points on the road so that was good for us.”

The Revolution registered 18 shots on Saturday. They played a German-style game, unsatisfied with their lead and always going for more. Columbus wasn’t out-worked, though. They shot 14 times, legitimately threatening in the attack, even hitting the crossbar once.

While Columbus struggled to cope, the quick, offensive flow favored the Revolution, who’ve learned over the course of the regular season that the best approach is an assertive one. Wins this season against Philadelphia, Seattle, and Houston all showcased their proficiency with this fast style of play. Heaps has also preached about the effectiveness of playing with tactics that feature quick, attractive tempo and possession control.

This group of Revolution players are risk-takers. They tied only three games this season, going for the win instead of the safe result more often than not.

“Yeah, we push it. I think that is kind of our motto, to go after teams,” Heaps added. “If we have chances we want to put them away. I think we were a little bit disappointed we didn’t put them all away. We had enough.”

Nguyen’s goal, which proved to be the game-winner, came from the run of play, as did Davies’s second strike. Davies’s first, however, as well as Tierney’s, were both off of set pieces. But playing well in open play played a part in those goals as well, as the Revolution were able to draw fouls in advantageous areas of the field. Thus, the storyline took an interesting twist.

For all the talk about avoid fouling Higuain and Finlay in the final third, lest the Revolution concede another set piece strike to the Crew, it turned out that the guests’ form on free kicks wasn’t so bad, either.

With at least three goals needed to avoid elimination, the Crew have no choice but to go after the Revolution in game two of the series, which takes place at Gillette Stadium on Sunday. That will mean that there will be plenty of space for the Revolution to take advantage of to further extend their aggregate lead.

Follow Julian on Twitter @juliancardillo and email him at

Leave a Reply