New England Soccer Today

Weapons Aplenty

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

The New England Revolution shocked all of Major League Soccer last Saturday with their 4-2 victory over the Columbus Crew. Winning in Columbus is hard enough, as evidenced by the hosts’ recently-deceased six-game home winning streak.

But by scoring four goals in fantastic fashion on the road, New England didn’t just take a commanding lead in the series; they put the rest of the playoff field on notice.

Three different players scribbled their names on the score sheet against the Crew, something that hadn’t been seen from the hottest team in the conference during their late-season push. Charlie Davies scored a pair of beautiful goals to lead all scorers in the match, while Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney added a goal apiece to round out the team scoring.

Going into the match against the Crew, the previaling wisdom held the following: stop Nguyen, and the Revolution offense grinds to a halt. That plan seemed pretty straight forward for Columbus – that is until Davies snapped out of his seven-week dry spell and scored in the 34th minute. With Davies getting the Revs on the board early, the focus eventually shifted off of Nguyen, thus allowing him to find space to score his goal in the 70th minute off a pass from Jermaine Jones.

After dominating the first leg in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, New England faces an interesting and dangerous second-leg at home against the Crew. Now that the Revolution have proved that their offense isn’t as one-dimensional as pundits once believed, it appears, at least at this juncture, that the sky is the limit for this team’s success.

Granted, it remains to be seen whether the Revolution can bottle the magic seen at Crew Stadium last weekend. Truth be told, Davies hasn’t been scorer for much of the season, but with a two-goal performance under his belt, confidence is running high for the former U.S. International.

Nguyen already posed serious threats for opposing teams and no one doubted his confidence going into the playoffs. As for Tierney, he’s shown himself a master from close range set pieces this season, and gives the Revs a dangerous attacking option coming off the back line.

Aside from the suspects above, the Revolution have three other attacking options that may yet crash the goalscoring party: Jermaine Jones, Teal Bunbury and, possibly, Diego Fagundez. Rookie striker Patrick Mullins is also in the conversation, solely because of his four-goal outburst in the early part of the 2014 season.

Bunbury gives New England speed on the outside wings, and as seen against Sporting Kansas City towards the end of the season, he can beat defenders one-on-one and finish given the opportunity. Jones possesses a rocket of a shot if given a yard of space. United States fans remember his incredible goal in the 2014 FIFA World Cup against Portugal.

The Fagundez conundrum is confusing, but Revolution fans know how good he can be when he’s got confidence. That fact alone makes him dangerous anytime he steps on the field for New England.

The Revolution want to win the final leg against Columbus, no question about it. Even with a 4-2 aggregate lead, the hosts know that scoring more goals only adds fuel to the fire. And after last week’s performance, there’s no reason to believe that the fire couldn’t turn into an inferno before long.

Predicted Score: 3-2 New England over Columbus (New England advances 7-4 on aggregate)

2 Comments

  1. Kskadden

    November 7, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Ummmm…Kelyn Rowe?

  2. Baxter Colburn

    November 8, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Normally yes, but he has not played as good as the players listed above. HE scored five goals in 2014, and does add a secret weapon to the midfield if given the opportunity to shoot.

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