As it stands, the New England Revolution II are setting a high bar to achieve in any subsequent seasons for the team in MLS Next PRO. They currently stand in 2nd in the East, tied for 1st with Columbus Crew 2. The Crew reserve team winning the first tiebreaker of more wins (in regulation). To add to their storied beginnings in MLS Next Pro, they’re the only team who haven’t lost in regulation now. Five games into the season, Revs II have managed to go unbeaten while winning three games and taking two to shoot outs. This streak is now record-creating as they continue to keep it going, how long does it last?
How Do They Keep The Streak?
The first person I want to look towards is the organization’s first round draft pick in the MLS Superdraft 2022, Jacob Jackson. Thus far, the young goalkeeper is 2nd in MLS Next Pro in saves made at 23. He is also tied for first in clean sheets, earning two out of his five games started. Jacob is quite clearly up to the task at the MLS Next Pro level. Following along with his stats, Jackson keeps the Revs II backline comfortable, only allowing one goal on average per game.
The 22-year-old continues to shine and has the statistics to back him up. His xG-G(expected goals conceded minus goals conceded) is just about 0 per game. That number proves that Jackson only allows chances when they are able to position themselves in good attacking positions. If the New England Revolution II back-line steps up to the plate and has great games, Jacob is likely to start outperforming his statistics. I would like to see Jacob continue to get time down at Revs II until he loses. It shows the other keepers, you’ll get your chance if you take it.
Possession Positive Midfield
The entirety of players on the roster who have at least seen a full game for Revolution II have seen great possession numbers. Starting off with the full team, there is only one outfield player who has less than 70 percent pass accuracy. The only other player that performs below 70 percent is goalkeeper Jacob Jackson, which is expected when he boots the long ball out of the back. For the past three games, Revs II has achieved 55 percent possession over the other team, which has lead to some great chances for the team. In those past three games, they’ve had 65 shots total and 19 on target.
A large amount of those chances came through the midfield. The great soccer analysis website American Soccer Analysis runs a statistic called “Goals Added”. Goals Added is meant to put a number to a player’s ability to create chances out of possession and/or movement. Check out a more in-depth look on their page. I’ve been looking at the midfielders and players who move the ball through the middle third for Revs II. Digging through those stats, there are important midfield players like Ryan Spaulding, Trevor Zwetsloot and Hikaru Fujiwara. Spaulding and Zwetsloot have a positive influence to the attack through their passing. Spaulding and Fujiwara add a lot of chances from their strong ability to dribble past defenders.
Aggressive Centerbacks Prove Fruitful
These players are obviously important, but it’s the pressure from the centerbacks that also help. The highest goals added values per 96 minutes (besides obvious newcomer Marcos Dias) on the team comes from two defenders. Pierre Cayet and Michael DeShields have been stepping up into the middle third to make pressuring tackles. DeShields’ statistics are a little skewed in his favor due to him only getting 54 minutes after being subbed in, but it still stands. This allows Revolution II to catch the opposing defense off-guard and distribute the ball on quick counter attacks. If they continue to do this well, the attack should find it easier to get in great positions for scoring. A great addition to a team looking to continue their streak in MLS Next Pro.
What Will End This Streak?
Consistent Strong Attacking Chances
As I pointed out earlier, Jacob Jackson has made the 2nd most saves in the league. As much as that is an amazing statistic for Jackson, it is a damning stat for the defense. Thus far this year, they’ve allowed five goals from 28 shots on target. On average, that means Jacob is needed to bail out the defense on four to five decent chances a game. If they limit those chances, it would be beneficial for the squad to be able to focus on finishing.
Failing To Finish
As we saw in the previous match, Revolution II managed to force an own goal to win the game. Obviously, you take wins where they come and how they come. However, their ability to put the ball in the net is something that should come as a priority to fix. You cannot hope that every team has inept defenders. Instead, this team that has put forth 83 shots this year should be able to become more accurate than 33 shots being on target. If they can achieve at least a 50% shot accuracy rating, it would help them become a more threatening team. Revs II shooting more accurately by nearly 12 percent would mean that they put 8 more shots on target. At the rate that they are scoring their on-target shots, that would mean two more goals scored at least!
If they are unable to put forth more goals going forward, it would lead them to look to JAckson to see games out. At this point, Jacob is allowing at least a goal a game. This isn’t a winning team without putting more chances in the back of the net. This is the sort of thing that would end the streak!