ROBC Vol. 1 No. 4, March 21 2023
Source: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Matt: The Revs faced their first true test against LAFC in Week 3, and while they did so without the full service of Carles Gil and the 2023 debut of a green card-holding Gustavo Bou, it’s fair to say they did not pass the test. The Nashville matchup was kinder to them the following week, but Carles Gil is still not back full time and Borrero and Wood are still finding their groove with the Revs.
Josh: A roller coaster of emotions during these weeks. Fortunately, we did get to see the Revs working out some of these early season creaks and wrinkles, even without our man Carles. And definitely lots of good soccer at the feet of the good guys. Wanna start with Week 3?
Matt: The Revs got off to an overall solid start against LAFC, Medic red slash NE kits against the evil-empire black home “5 Years Strong” LA kits, but after 20 minutes LAFC made adjustments and Revs fans sat uneasily on their couches. By the end of the game, the stats were shocking: shots - LAFC 18 to NE 4, shots on target, LAFC 12 to NE 1, and 13 LAFC fouls to 6 NE fouls. All this despite the Revs leading in possession and pass accuracy. Translation: LAFC is an efficient, active team.
Josh: Obviously, I have to start with saying that the new away kit does look pretty great and when there’s a more even game, the Revolution will look great out there. While I can make comments about how hard the Western Conference is, it’s no fun when your team looks just outpaced in two of three regions of the field. I have nothing but confidence in Bou, as he finds his new place alongside Borrero, Wood, and Buck, but he’s also still rebuilding back to La Pantera status.
Matt: I thought the penalty in the box called against Bou in the 14’ was a weak call, but otherwise LAFC earned their win. Subbing in the 65’ on both sides with the score still at 1-0 bolstered LAFC, but not particularly the Revs. Soon the wheels came off for the visitors. Bouanga, who was on fire that night, started the damage with his 67’ goal. While Jones probably initially read him as offside, he was onside due to Bye’s position on the right. He also roamed freely on the left side in the second half as LAFC repeatedly pulled the Revs out of position, which allowed him to add insult to injury to make it 4-0 in the 96’.
Josh: While I can understand the strategy of swapping out the attacking front for some fresh legs while you’re behind, it feels like maybe Coach Arena misjudged the hungry LAFC side. As they demonstrated with that last goal, they are not playing to run out the clock. That left Dejuan Jones and friends to do their best, but just feel the brunt of the attack for the full 90+ minutes.
Matt: If there was a silver lining for the Revs, it was twofold: 1. Petrovic was fantastic, saving 8 while conceding the 4, including an astonishing double save in the 73’, and 2. The Revs got to see what they had in the tank against a well-coached tough team.
Josh: With a Conference full of teams with a positive goal differential, it’s important to take these tests to learn and recover. I think we got to see some of that learning in the following weekend against a previously undefeated Nashville Soccer Club.
Matt: And then the Revs hosted Nashville, with Teal returning to town in electric gold and acoustic blue. I was initially cautiously optimistic in this game due to the fact that Mukhtar had been rehabbing from his hip injury, but he looked pretty darn good that night. A fairly even match ensued after kickoff. Bou almost scored with a beautiful feed from Buck in the 28’, and then the post denied visitor Zimmerman in the 35’. Bye had several great crosses that didn’t end up in the net, but then Dejuan fed a great throughball to Bou who then two-stepped by several defenders to roof it for 1-0 in the 52’. A few close calls occurred in the following 41 minutes (counting stoppage time), but the score remained 1-0, sending Nashville home without points. My MOTM was Dejuan Jones, who followed up the LAFC game with a fantastic performance at left back. Great vision on the pitch, fantastic passes, always in motion. MLS Fantasy confirmed my take with him earning 14 points for Week 4.
Josh: I remember you had commented on Mukhtar and then I saw him playing an impressive press against the Revs backfield and yeah… he’s pretty good. Thankfully the midfield understood the Nashville lineup better and were able to poke holes to find the runs like you described. Bou looked stronger and more in sync. And unlike the LAFC matchup, while Nashville did have more shot attempts, our Revs had more on target, and clearly demonstrated how to be a more effective attacking presence.
Matt: So my big three from these two matches: 1. The Revs have had their mettle tested, and found themselves lacking, 2. There’s more work to be done in the 18 and the 6 with Vrioni and Borrero, and hopefully a few more weeks of training and matches will connect those dots, and 3. Romney and Kessler are solid at the centerback - what does this mean for Farrell?
Josh: Farrell is back on the training field and I’m betting Coach Arena wants to see him out there in a match supporting the hard work that Petrovic has had to lead. As he gets back in shape, maybe we see him start with Romney or Kessler over the next weeks and the other one subs in. I’d love to see the defense have options to hold the fort if anyone is looking worn or needs a boost to the spirit.
Matt: I also loved loved loved being able to listen to the commentary by Brad Feldman and Charlie Davies for the Nashville game. These two know the Revs better than just about anyone, and I encourage Revs fans to look for the home feed option when watching home Revs games on Apple TV. It won’t be available for the next game against DC in our nation’s capital, but it will be when the Revs host NYCFC on April 1.
Josh: How cool! DC United has been cold and slightly warm, but the Revs will have some shifts while Borrero will be playing for Colombia and Makoun for Venezuela. The team with too many letters made some interesting roster changes for this Season, and I don’t think they have it worked out yet. Should be a couple weekends where the Revolution can find their footing and confidence.
Matt: I think the international call-ups won't affect the result against DC United, who is still finding their way. Verdict: Revs win. When the pigeons come to town, I think it’s at least a tie. When NYCFC isn’t playing at their baseball stadium, the calls are much more even and NYC can’t bully their way across the pitch. I say 4 points, hopefully 6 in the next two weeks. Bring the Fight! Go Revs!
Revs Slyde-ing Scale of 1-10 for Games 3 & 4
Final Score on the Revs Slyde-ing Scale: 6.9 /10
Twitter and Instagram: @RevsCoasts