Categorized | Match Reports

Revs lose possession, and game, in Seattle

Posted on 30 June 2011 by Hank Alexandre

Sainey Nyassi’s 3 minute strike to give his team an early lead was wasted in Seattle as the struggling New England Revolution fell to the Seattle Sounders on Sunday.  The Sounders dominated the run of play for the majority of the match, scoring twice in the first half to take the lead.

Tyson Wahl notched the equalizer and his first career MLS goal with a stunning free kick that caught the left corner which could be goal of the week.  The Sounders then went ahead on a strike from Alvaro Fernandez, taking advantage of a defensive lapse from Revs defender Kevin Alston, who was busy attending to his defective cleats.

Despite the return of Benny Feilhaber and the addition of Ryan Guy into the line-up, the Revs were disjointed at best.  The Sounders were missing 6 key starters and lost a player early on to injury and New England could not muster any form of sustainable attack.

For a team that focused on maintaining possession in the preseason, the Revolution seem to be regressing and are now struggling in the midfield as well as in the final third.

Overall the Revolution had few shining stars. Pat Phelan’s overall performance in the middle of the field was left wanting, and his slide tackle in the 23rd minute was atrocious.  Rajko Lekic seems to struggle with his first touch, often resulting in a giveaway or a miskick.  Benny Feilhaber was not involved in any meaningful way and Shalrie Joseph was playing too far back to orchestrate any kind of attack.

But the formation is the fault of head coach Steve Nicol.   After seeing some modicum of success with a 4-4-2, Nicol opted to return to his preferred 4-5-1.  His insistence on two holding midfielders at the expense of meaningful attack, and playing Benny Feilhaber out of position as a forward where he was ineffective, has in fact hindered the Revolution more than it has helped.

A glimmer of hope for the team was when Steve Nicol moved to a 3-5-2 in the final minutes, subbing off Ryan Cochrane for Zack Schilawski.  Schilawski had a great impact on the game, unleashing a rocket of a shot in the 85th minute that deflected off the wrongside of the crossbar, and the quality of the Revolution’s overall play improved as they looked for the equalizer. But in the end it was just not enough, and the Revolution were once again on the wrong end of the scoresheet.

If the Revolution hope to make a push to the playoffs, they need to start winning yesterday.  However, that is not going to happen under Steve Nicol’s current system.  Nicol has to find a way to get Benny Feilhaber involved quickly, so he can generate more offense.  Furthermore, he must shelf his lone striker tactics permanently and give Lekic a true striking partner. Kenny Mansally and Zak Boggs have both shown tremendous energy over the last few weeks and have just missed on a number of chances, but a consistent striking partner will help Lekic develop a true rapport with his teammates, allowing him to anticipate and react more efficiently, and less emotionally.

Lastly, Nicol must find a designated player THIS SEASON that can have an immediate impact on the team’s overall performance.  So far Nicol’s big signings (Lekic, Domi, Dabo, and even Feilhaber) have had little impact on the team.  Granted Domi and Dabo have been injured more often than not, but that would have to be expected considering their age.  Rumors have circulated over the last few months that the team has their eye on a designated player, and Nicol himself has flown across the Atlantic to talk to him on numerous occassions.  One can only hope that the player Nicol has in mind, if he should sign with the Revs, has the fitness level where he can not only contribute right away, but contribute on a regular basis.

Steve Nicol has proven throughout his career that given the right players, he can produce results.  However, time is running out on Nicol to find the players that can save the season, and maybe his job.

Seattle Sounders FC 2, New England Revolution 1

Scoring Summary:

NE – Sainey Nyassi (Benny Feilhaber) 3

SEA – Tyson Wahl (unassisted) 34

SEA – Alvaro Fernandez (Roger Levesque, Mauro Rosales) 40


New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Darrius Barnes, A.J. Soares, Ryan Cochrane (Zack Schilawski 81), Kevin Alston, Ryan Guy (Kenny Mansally 62), Benny Feilhaber, Shalrie Joseph ©, Pat Phelan, Sainey Nyassi (Zak Boggs 62), Rajko Lekic


Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Franco Coria, Otto Loewy


STATS*: Shots: 11; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 1; Corner Kicks: 5; Offside: 1; Fouls Committed: 13


Seattle Sounders FC: Kasey Keller, James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Jeff Parke (Patrick Ianni 17), Tyson Wahl, Lamar Neagle, Servando Carrasco, Erik Friberg, Alvaro Fernandez (Pat Noonan 69), Mauro Rosales (Nate Jaqua 89), Roger Levesque


Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Mike Fucito, Michael Tetteh, Zach Scott


STATS*: Shots: 9; Shots on Goal: 3; Saves: 2; Corner Kicks: 3; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 7

* Note that all statistics are unofficial


Misconduct Summary:

NE – Pat Phelan (caution) 23

SEA – Servando Carrasco (caution) 26

NE – Ryan Cochrane (caution) 72

NE – Rajko Lekic (caution) 78

SEA – Tyson Wahl (caution) 87

NE – A.J. Soares (caution) 90

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