New England Soccer Today

Technically Speaking: #NEvRSL

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Welcome back to another edition of “Technically Speaking,” where our very own resident coach and former pro Rick Sewall takes a deeper look into the Revolution’s latest performance.

Have any questions you’d like Rick to address? Feel free to ask away in the comments section below.

From your perspective, how were the Revs able to generate so many chances?

Rick: I don’t think the Revs were overly concerned with the attacking abilities of the quintet of Olmes Garcia, Alvaro Saborio, John Sterzer, Luis Gil, and Luke Mulholland. As a result, they could afford to send outside backs Chris Tierney and London Woodberry up the field. One had to look pretty carefully to be sure that these two, especially Tierney, were not playing wing. Both had very little to do on defense and could play a big role in creating lots of offensive chances.

Outside of the first five minutes or so Lee Nguyen, Juan Agudelo, Charlie Davies, and Teal Bunbury, ably assisted by Tierney and Woodberry, had their way with a weak and bad-marking defense. Excellent chances came a dime a dozen, especially in the second half.

Last week in this column, I emphasized the importance of wing play and said I’d like to see Agudelo in the middle next to Nguyen. The set-up with the attacking fullbacks this week nicely achieved much of what I was hoping for, because it allowed Agudelo to come to the middle, where he is so good at bamboozling an opposing defense.

What did you make of the Agudelo-Davies-Bunbury front three?

Rick: This was a strong game for the trio of Agudelo, Davies, and Bunbury, with both Agudelo and Davies scoring. Agudelo and Bunbury, positioned as wingers, spent a lot of time in the middle of the field because of the numerous offensive forays of wingbacks Tierney and Woodberry. Beyond question, this made the trio more effective, with Agudelo named, deservedly, man of the match. I was also impressed with his defensive efforts.

Jay Heaps mentioned that Andy Dorman quietly had a good game. Do you agree?

Rick: I agree that Andy Dorman had a good game. It was a quiet one because he simply did not have much to do (neither did the whole Revs defense), but he was playing fairly deep and always on the lookout for any Salt Lake sneak attack. I could find no fault with his defensive positioning. A big part of playing the game properly is simply being on the right spot of the field in all situations.

Salt Lake looked like the aggressor out of the gate, but quickly wilted. What do you think was their biggest stumbling block?

Rick: Often in soccer the problem with being very aggressive at the beginning of a game is that, if you fail to score, you are disappointed and you feel that it’s just not your day. I can’t say for sure that this happened for Real Salt Lake after the first five or six minutes or so in this game, but I throw this out because I have seen it take place before.

Most essentially, though, the biggest stumbling block for Salt Lake was the fire power of the big six Revs attackers, Davies, Agudelo, Bunbury, Nguyen, and (last but not least) Tierney and Woodberry. Salt Lake simply could not compete with this Rev group.

What stood out the most to you about Saturday’s game?

Rick: I have always told overmatched teams that I have coached that the only time you look bad is if you stop trying. Losing by 6, 7, even 10 goals is not an enormous problem provided you always give your best effort to the very end. I feel that there was some quitting in Salt Lake’s game, especially after Davies’ goal. If I were Salt Lake coach Jeff Cassar, I would be a lot more worried about this attitude than I would be about the loss.

It might be an idea to try moving Chris Tierney up to left wing on a permanent basis. He is playing very well and seems to improve year by year. Putting a speedier defender like Kevin Alston at left back to contend with some of the very good right wingers in the league (like Lloyd Sam in the game coming up next week against the Red Bulls) could also be a positive move.

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