If there was a road match that RSL could go into with confidence given their past it would be at New England, but without Alvaro Saborio, without Robbie Findley, and without Nat Borchers things are never as easy as they would first appear. There were moments when RSL looked like the home team, moving the ball around trying to find gaps between the 7-9 players behind the ball, and then there were moments when slight mistakes gave huge chances to the Revolution. I have laughed at a few reviews of the matches that actually believe that this was an evenly played match, RSL dominated possession, controlled the pace of most of the match, and was by far the more attacking side.
You don’t have to believe me, here are the numbers: 13 shots for RSL, 11 for New England, 7 on target for RSL, 3 for New England, 482 passes for RSL and just 318 for New England, 81% passing accuracy for RSL (that seems a bit high) to 71% for New England, and 58.6% of possession for RSL, just 41.4% for New England. The only category that New England really dominated in was corner kicks with a 10 to 2 advantage, oh and fouls, where they have a 17 to 11 edge.
This was another match where the official ended up being a big part of the story, several major calls missed (both ways), and then in stoppage time a bad call of a handball for a PK, and a 2nd yellow card to Carlos Salcedo who had nothing to do with the play. Thankfully a PK save by Nick Rimando allowed RSL to hold on to the deserved win. For me it was great to see our midfielders taking more shots, one of the things I believe we must do, on the night Ned had some great ones (and took a beating most of the night) to end with 3 shots, Kyle had that same number, and Luis Gil added two more shots. I am not surprised that Javier Morales had no shots, he was marked closely (often too closely for comfort) by the Rev’s midfielders and defenders.
It was an interesting debut from Salcedo, who had some quality moments and some moments when he looked like a player getting their first start, we have to remember that he is just 19 years old, and no amount of practice time can fully prepare you for first team action. While he showed to have all the physical tools and the skill to be a great prospect at centerback, he also showed some questionable decision making, and it was clear that the communication along the back line was as effective as it usually is. Thankfully, the Revolution were only able to take advantage of one of the mistakes made by the RSL defense, a credit to the ability of the backline and others to quickly recover from mistakes and limit opponents opportunities.
A first MLS goal for Devon Sandoval, I thought the goal was a bit of a testament to how Devon plays, he goes after everything and never quits on a play, this time his smart positioning (getting back onside quickly) and quick reflexes were able to help him get a critical goal. It was a night of hard work and physical play for Devon, but he never backed down or quit on a play and he was rewarded for his efforts. I have a feeling that we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of what Devon will be able to provide RSL over time; it should be a very exciting ride to follow his career.
It was fun going back and watching the match (after listening to and following it on twitter) to hear how upbeat and enthusiastic the announce team (pointing at you Dunny) were about Olmes Garcia and his ability to really change a game, you would have thought that they had a script that let them know that he would score with just seconds left in regulation play. They are right, there is something special about Olmes, but before we all crown him the prince of MLS, we have to remember that we have seen new players get off to hot starts before in MLS and for RSL, only to fail to live up to the hype and potential. We know that RSL head coach Jason Kreis believes in bringing along new/young players slowly and not putting too much pressure on them, and allowing them to develop over time. This year the roster turnover and injuries aren’t allowing for that process to be used, but so far the results of being tossed into the fire have shown some early signs of resulting in good things.
So with 11 matches down RSL sit at 5-4-2 with 11 goals scored and 10 goals allowed, their 17 points have us sitting in second place in the Western Conference but it is deceptive as we have played 11 matches, while many teams have played fewer. Still points in hand are what matter, and with two more road matches before a return to Rio Tinto Stadium, every point we can pick up will go a long way as the season progresses.
That’s How I See It