MLS is Back Game 1: Montreal Impact V New England Revolution

Final Score: Montreal Impact 0 – New England Revolution 1

It’s been four months since there was a competitive MLS match for the New England Revolution, and they came out of the blocks firing. While there were some stumbling blocks at times, the Revolution looked like a team that came into this tournament ready for games.

Henry was fair in his assessment of how Montreal played, yet if you look at the overall performance of both clubs, they were just overmatched and outclassed. Stats aside, the eye test showed one side showed up ready to play, and the other was not prepared. The question not only comes down to the players but the coach as well. Bruce Arena has more managerial experience and success as a manager than Thierry Henry. Yes, Henry was a fantastic player, but that does not mean he won’t become a good coach. He looked overmatched and underwhelming, to be frank.

I still stand by the statement that half of the reason the season opener went so poorly for the Revolution was the pitch in Montreal. Yes, Carles Gil was back for the Revolution, but even a blind man can see how the ball moved on the surface, compared to that joke in Montreal. I know most people joke about the surface at Gillette, but I would take that over what I saw in Montreal.

Major Talking Points

New England Goal 56′ – Gustavo Bou (Carles Gil) Mon 0 – NE 1

What a strike. The interplay between the Revolution front four was fantastic, and this goal should have been one of many. The goal started with the work between Brandon Bye and Carles Gil on the wing and just an excellent finish. The link-up connection between Bou and Gil has been in place since the middle of last season. Yes, there was some rust to knock off, but what a strike.

Overall Thoughts

I cannot commend Bruce Arena, and the rest of his staff enough for the work that they did to get this team ready for the MLS is back tournament. They looked a side who was prepared to go from kick-off. You have to look at the Revolution players, through all the matches I’ve watched seem to have the best fitness. Also, getting their injured players back on the field showed the potential this roster has.

Carles Gil’s 12 chances created were needed, and it allowed so much more freedom to the rest of the players on the pitch. You can see a difference in the flow of the Revolution attack when he was on the pitch and earlier this year when he was injured.

It was welcome to see Delamea and Büttner back on the field. Büttner played exceptionally well for someone who has not played a professional game in close to a year. He provided some much-needed leadership on the backline. He and Delamea seemed to be very much on the same wavelength with each other, even though they have had minimal time together on the field. Büttner also seemed to make things calmer at the back. His call outs and just calmness on the ball and with his positioning helped settler the backline. Nothing against Jones, but the experience difference was culpable.

I am going to make this point again, Thierry Henry can only blame his players so much. They looked underprepared and overmatched. He can talk about lack of fight, but it comes down to his staff and himself ensuring the players are ready to go, and they did not.

Man of the Match

Gil, Turner, Bou, Bruce Arena. Take your pick. Each of these individuals played a huge part in the success of the Revolution over the Impact. Gil created, and being back on the field gave Bou more freedom to play. Bou scored a scorcher of a goal, and what a save by Turner. Probably caused a couple of slight heart attacks afterward, but that is what you need from a standout goalkeeper. Finally, I have already impressed upon Bruce’s accomplishments in ensuring the team was prepped and ready to go tactically, mentally, and physically.

Playoff Excitement and Haters…

I’m super pumped for this game on Saturday. I love even more that we’re underdogs. We thrive while being the underdogs and always have. It catapults the fans to a level of hype unseen, especially when the players catch on and double it down. This #RaiseYourColors tag has also kicked my feelings up a notch. The “Mama Mama” chant has been a mainstay in the Revolution realm for years now, it’s about time they assimilated to the supporter’s culture.

Atlanta will be tough…

Yeah yeah yeah, they’ve got a couple ex-Revs looking to pay the team back. Yeah, they’ve got one of the top goal scorers of the past few years since Atlanta came into the league. I’m not going to chop this up lightly. AU will definitely come out swinging. Atlanta will be coming into this with a general knowledge of the team from the game on Decision Day, fresh in their heads. This knowledge may be fake, so lets not even focus in on that. Martinez, Gressel and Pity/Barco can absolutely tear this Revs team apart and we’ve already seen it a few times within the past year. Martinez will be playing the back line as usual, hoping to catch someone sleeping.

The biggest plus on Atlanta’s half is that they’ll have 50,000 or more fans in the crowd making noise. I’ve heard a decent section of Revolution fans may be heading down for the game, but I still think it will be less than 30-40. I hope I’m wrong. Needless to say, the New England players will have to believe the fans are making a ruckus for them up in 329, very unlikely to be heard.

The major subtraction I can take from this team, is this team is not coached by MLS Cup winning Tata, they’ve got FDB. I cannot assume the same level of ability to keep players composed in the face of the Revs coming out and scoring first. I think this is where we may have a chance to change up people’s minds. We have an MLS Cup winning head coach, they don’t.

Hype Train Rolls On…

I will start at the top. As soon as Bruce Arena took a hold onto this team, they became a different entity entirely. We’ve seen cohesion between players and even some singular players having major confidence boosts. Right here, is where I start this hype train. I know a lot of us fans are tainted by performances past, but this coach, with this team. Arena seems to make these players want to run through walls for him. He definitely makes the fans want to jump out of their seats and run onto the field and hug him.

We have MLS Newcomer of the Year, Carles Gil on our team. He has been a part of this team since during the Friedel downfall and he still came out unscathed. He scored 10 goals this season and provided 14 more people with goals. Bou and him have vibed so well together that I don’t see this game not having a Bou to Gil to Bou goal. He will lead us to victory. oh capitán mi capitán

We have LA PANTERA, Gustavo Bou. He has 9 goals and 2 assists in 13 games started, 14 games played since he joined the team. At the moment, he is likely to strike again, as he hasn’t gone two games without a goal all season. On average, he scores a goal every game and a half. With that stat, if he was here all year, he would have been closing in on Martinez’s trail with around 24-25 goals in 34 games. He is the real deal and willing to do anything and everything to try and score. I hope this panther strikes again this upcoming game!

We have Matt Turner, our Goalkeeper of the Year in our hearts. His stats are unreal, even if it’s only part of the season. At one point in the season, this guy was supposed to have let in 28 goals. He allowed 20. There were no other goalkeepers even in his range for G-xG. He is the main reason this team stands in the playoffs. He is also the reason I’m consistently ready to run through a wall. Turner has shown me that he can step up and keep people motivated to make it all happen. In most of his interviews, he is always speaking on how the team is working together and working hard. It shows!

The team on the whole has been legit through this run of 5 and a half months since Arena stepped into his position as Head Coach/ Sporting Director. Agudelo, Fagundez, and Penilla have all had great showings in their various starts and super-sub moments. Luis Caicedo has continued to be the backbone of the team, always ready to sacrifice himself for the greater good (tactical fouls). He has great soccer IQ and it’s awesome to see. Big Wilf has showed he can be a great asset in keeping possession. He also manages to send some great passes through from time to time. The whole back-line in the past few games have worked their asses off. From Farrell, Delemea, Anibaba, Mancienne, to Jones, they all have shown some amazing work and I can’t wait to see the pumped up version of the defense they showed a week and a half ago.

All the haters…

Beware. The underdogs are ready to go. We will show up on Saturday. We will make as many strikes on goal as we did a week or so ago. And we will score them this time. We will keep your “strikers” out of our end with great ease. We will keep our calm and strike when the moment is right. Our supporters will be partying up in 329 singing “Glory Glory”, with an amazing emphasis on the part “Undivided…F UNITED”. I can’t wait to go to the bar and annoy the regulars when I’m jumping around the lounge area screaming my lungs out.“Mama Mama, Can’t you see, What New England’s done for me…” This is the Revolution and we will not back down. “Raise your colors, Raise them up.”

Revs Look To Strike Back In Seattle

I’ve been watching a show on Netflix called “Trainer!”. I recommend it to anyone who loves soccer/football or someone just getting into the game. It touches on a few key things that a Revs fan has come to know, if they’ve spent the past 5 years with the rest of us. No matter what you do as a coach, your moves are always judged. This is the difference between Brad and Bruce. Bruce knows that you’re one hundred percent judged whether you win, lose or draw. It’s about how you bounce back. It’s what you learn from your mistakes, not who to blame or why things happened the way they did. This is why I think the game in Seattle will be one to watch.

Revs fare well in the West

New England heading to Seattle has good vibes to it this year. We have two wins and two ties in away games against the West. The two wins are most recent and are a direct correlation of the Arena era. There are two major points stemming from those games that we need to make sure happens again. Carles Gil needs to be able to find heads or feet. In the game against LA, he assisted both Penilla and Bunbury for simple goals, lets get back to that. He also added another assist to Juan Fernando Caicedo in the game against Colorado. Juan also needs to find space and to strike the back of the net again. We need a few strikers with goal confidence to kick start our attack.

Come on Revs, let’s score a goal…

The most damning stat from the game against LAFC is the shots versus shots on goal. The Revs ended up with seven shots but only one on goal. LAFC ended up with seven shots, six on goal and two in the back of the net. The boys in blue need to make us believe they can strike on goal and string together attacking play after the showing in Gillette this past weekend. I would love to see Bou with another cracking goal from distance.

Defensive Pros/Cons

Turner has been a force in these past few games. He shut down Carlos Vela all game last Saturday. Major issues in the wing backs Castillo and Bye with the inability to cross consistently and getting caught out of position. Delemea is ruled out for the game. New England will have two players, Mancienne and Anibaba to fill in that position at center back. I’m hoping to see what Mancienne can bring to the table. I think if he steps out after his injury and we make some major stops. I think it will be great for his confidence going forward if Toni is ruled out for longer than this game.

Morris will be looking to score…

Seattle’s most dangerous player at the moment will be Morris. He will be wanting to score more after his great goal in the game against Sporting Kansas City. Also, they made two great signings for the midfield in Emmanuel Cecchini from Malaga and Luis Silva (a former RSL player) from a first division Finnish team. This bolstering of the midfield positions can help the team in the final third, let’s hope we don’t see them this game. They are coming off a loss to SKC, which is a major plus for the Revs.

If you’re looking for me…

Looking for a place to watch the game? I will be at Boston Billiards Club and Casino in Nashua, NH with the Midnight Riders watch party run by Monty Rodrigues. It’s cooking up to be a great game and great time. Boston Billiards has delicious food and plenty of drink.