Categorized | Features, Match Reports

Revolution “need quality” as they sputter to salvage a draw

Posted on 17 June 2011 by Hank Alexandre

With most of the greater Boston area focusing on Hockey, The New England Revolution broke their losing streak and secured a shutout against division rivals, Toronto FC. However, the Revs missed a golden chance on Wednesday night to secure three points against a team that they should have easily defeated.

Rather than go into a lengthy play by play breakdown of the scoreless draw, this space is perhaps better served by discussing the scoring drought that has plagued the Revolution all season long. With only 11 goals to their credit, the Revs are DEAD LAST in goals scored in MLS.

The first half showed a lot of enthusiasm from the Revoultion, as Steve Nicol switched the formation from his usual 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2, with Kenny Mansally playing along side Rajko Lekic up front. Mansally showed a lot of pace chasing down the loose passes and the long balls, and worked well with his midfielders. Rajko Lekic had a few opportunities early on but could not settle the ball to create a meaningful strike on goal, aside from a header off the first corner of the game which was easily saved by Frei. In fact the best chance for the Revs in the half was a long range strike from Chris Tierney, which forced Frei to palm it away.

The second half was much like the first, but to Nicol’s credit he tried to shake things up with the substitution of Zak Boggs for Sainey Nyassi to start the half, and later bringing on Zack Schilawski in place of Chris Tierney. Nyassi and Mansally worked hard on the flanks, and fullbacks Darrius Barnes and Kevin Alston were both moving forward and getting into the attack as well. Despite these moves, and the Revs constant pressure on the Toronto FC side, the Revs were not able to find the back of the net. Joseph’s blast in the 50th minute and his final shot in extra time were probably the Revs’ best chances. Lekic’s miss from alston in the 58th minute and his failure to get on the end of Mansally’s pass in the 70th minute were also two prime opportunities to go ahead on Toronto and both were squandered by the Danish striker.

In the press conference after the game, Coach Nicol spoke of not having the quality when it was needed. In previous press conferences, it was the lack of creativity, or the final pass. But anyway you slice it, the Revs head coach is saying his team is not good enough, and he’s been saying it for a while.

However, it is Nicol’s team that he and Mike Burns have selected that is out on the field. Granted the loss of Marko Perovic and Benny Feilhaber are huge losses, but the drop off in quality without those two players is inexcusable. Two off season signings, Didier Domi and Ousmane Dabo, have barely seen the field of play due to recurring injuries, a sign of their respective ages. But the decision to invest money into these players who don’t see any playing time has to be laid at the feet of the front office.

Steve Nicol, when he has had quality players, has had great success. However, since 2007 his team has declined, mainly because of the lack of quality players Nicol and Burns have brought in. If the team needs quality, they need to start looking elsewhere. There is still talk that the Revs will bring in a Designated Player this summer. However, the ownership may be better served bringing in a technical director or investing in a scouting system, and improve the quality of their overall player acquisition strategy.


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