New England Soccer Today

Three Thoughts: #COLvNE

Photo credit: Corbin Elliot/Prost Amerika

Photo credit: Corbin Elliot/Prost Amerika

Three thoughts on the Revolution’s 2-0 win over the Rapids on Saturday at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colo.

Juan Agudelo had the fitness and sharpness: The main talking point for Juan Agudelo will be that sensational finish with which he put the Revolution up 1-0. But there’s more to the story than the resurgence of Swagudelo. Goals don’t happen every game—especially ones as impressive as the one we saw in the 18th minute. So perhaps it makes more sense to focus on the basics and intangibles that Agudelo displayed. For the first time all season, the 22-year-old looked completely fit, and at elevation, no less. But Agudelo’s sharpness—both on the ball and off—was another reason why the Revolution were able get their first win in Colorado since 2002. He made a major difference for the Revolution on Saturday night, and not just by putting the ball in the back of the net.

Possession game, there you are: The Revolution don’t have to have more of the ball to win the possession battle—that much was obvious on Saturday night. That’s because you can use possession as a two-way street, taking away transitions. In keeping the ball better, teams allow time for recuperation, take energy away from their opponents, and guard against the counterattack. All three of those factors were in play as the Revolution knocked the ball around against Colorado, especially early on. That was a smart tactic to employ after taking a 1-0 lead. Colorado may be used to the elevation as the home team, but they were going to get gassed eventually. The Revolution’s strong possession game was especially key as Colorado knocked on the door late.

Back line does its job: This was a night for firsts for the goal scorers (Agudelo and Lee Nguyen), but also a first for the franchise in that it got its first victory at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. No matter how poorly the Rapids attack looked going into Saturday’s match,  this was always going to be a challenging game for the Revolution. Kudos to the back line, which endured swaps (Kevin Alston for Jose Goncalves, then Darrius Barnes moving to center back), the elevation, and a ruthless Colorado attack. Yes, the guests should be thankful for poor finishing from the hosts, not to mention a suspicious non-call inside New England’s area around the hour mark. Regardless, Bobby Shuttlworth and the backline preserved the clean sheet.

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