New England Soccer Today

Impact Shackle Nguyen to Get Result

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – If the Impact were going to get a result from Saturday’s match against the Revolution, they knew they’d have to focus on shutting down a specific part of the field.

Last year, Lee Nguyen scored two goals in his last two games against the Impact, and with that memory fresh in Frank Klopas’ mind, he wasn’t about to let the same happen again.

“The way we played, we knew that Lee Nguyen was going to be an important part in the middle,” Klopas said. “The way they played the 4-3-2-1, and Nguyen finding those pockets in the middle, so we played 4-3-3 and we had (Callum) Mallace in the pocket to make sure we did a good job with (Nguyen).”

To prevent Nguyen from striking, the Impact flooded the box with a pack of defenders. And it worked about as well as Klopas could’ve hoped for.

With the central channel congested, Nguyen was limited to 48 touches, and his passing accuracy was an unimpressive 67.6 percent. If the creative midfielder was going to beat the Impact, he’d have to do it from distance.

The only prime opportunity Nguyen managed to find was an uncharacteristic one. In the 71st minute, Chris Tierney whipped a cross to Nguyen, who used his head rather than his right foot, to try and steer it on target, but sent it over the bar.

But the tactic wasn’t just about frustrating Nguyen and, to a different degree, central forward Juan Agudelo. By no means.

Montreal’s M.O. is to sit back and play for the counter, which is precisely what it tried to do by using those numbers in the central channel in the hopes of pulling the Revolution apart.

“We knew down the middle was going to be really congested,” Klopas said. “So our ability to move the ball quick, and try to attack more the wide areas – when we did that, we had success. The Revs do a good job in the middle when they want to force balls to win it.”

After Hassoun Camara’s 61st minute ejection left the Impact shorthanded, they went into a defensive shell for good. While the Revolution was able to uncover a handful of chances during the final half hour, they were unable to find the back of the net.

“They just went straight defense, and it was kind of hard to get in the box,” Revolution midfielder Diego Fagundez said. “We were playing around the box and trying to get chances in, but we just couldn’t get one in.”

Considering the losses of Cameron Porter and Dominic Oduro, who both came out due to injuries, and the ejection of Camara, Klopas had nothing but praise for his squad’s performance.

“We went into the game with a good plan,” Klopas said. “I think the guys stuck to that and under the circumstances, it was a great effort by the guys.”

Leave a Reply