ROBC Vol. 1 No. 6, April 19, 2023
Matt: The Revs continued to work hard over the last two weeks. Another chilly game at home saw New England send Montréal away with its tail between its legs, and then the Revs traveled to Columbus and almost came away with three more points! While the crowd at Gillette had few complaints about the Montréal game, fans were mixed on how the Columbus game should have played out with a late lengthy VAR review on Farrell’s accidental arm contact with the ball in the box, but no matter how I look at it the Crew earned the draw.
Josh: It’s been a pretty great couple of weeks, watching the Revs start to find their stride and restore the doubters’ understanding of why they belong at the top of the standings.
Matt: The Revs thoroughly dominated Montréal. The team FKA Impact tried to get a full game out of the recently injured Quioto, but had to sub him out due to the lingering injury in the 46’. The stats line is one-sided, New England dominating shots 19-9, shots on target 9-3, passes 569-406, and pass accuracy 84%-78%, but it’s worth noting that Montréal’s adjustments at the beginning of the second half, already down 2-0, didn't do the trick. The Revs were able to maintain a beautifully balanced passing network against a Montréal defense that was sitting on three yellow cards by the 67’, and most importantly for the progress of the New England team, DP striker Vrioni netted his first goal of the season in the 86’. Just to keep it interesting, Petroviç got the assist.
Source: MLS app
Josh: It really feels like the Revolution needed this game and this type of victory, including getting Vrioni to put the ball into the net, as he was specifically hired to do. And for Petroviç to start to round out his resume - very nice - although you know that means the folks on social want to see the Revs get that sweet, sweet transfer money and give away another Keeper. If they even get to decide?
Matt: After that hard fought and disappointing draw against NYCFC, you bet they did. And if I had to bet, any deal for Petroviç will require a loan through the end of the 2023 MLS season. While I see it as a good thing when the Revs looked like a team you could grow from (thanks, Tajon and Matt!), at some point I want to be assured it doesn’t become a situation where this is why we can’t have nice things. At least I know the Revs players and management want to secure the team’s first MLS Cup at some point.
Josh: I think you’re right, and I thought it was a lock after the Supporters’ Shield, record-setting points season, and then watched the trades fly away. But I really hope that’s right, this is the case, and we’ll see the Revs and the rest of MLS focus on getting the best soccer played on US professional pitches.
Matt: So there was joy in Turfville for a day or two, but then it was impossible to ignore the fact that the true test – the Columbus Crew under successful coach Wilfried Nancy – was next...
Josh: Having spent a little time in Columbus and married into an Akron family, I notice how they are faring. But this past weekend, and certainly in this recap - let’s hear how the Revs should’ve conquered this Yellow & Black side. Were the Revs able to slow their VeloCITY? Get it?
Josh: Because of their new jersey name? No? *sigh*
Matt: The Revs jumped into this game with both feet and played as forward as they could, which was the right attitude and approach IMHO. With Bou, Wood and Kessler home in New England due to injury, Bajraktareviç, Vrioni and Farrell were in the starting lineup. The 4-2-3-1 formation looked to me to build on Vrioni and Borrero’s play from the Montréal game, with the added attitude of Esmir and Polster on the right to blunt the Crew. In general, the ball movement was more effective up the left side, and it turned out to be the key to the first goal in the 58’. Blessing passed to Carles from the Revs side of the center circle to just over the centerline on the left, and Carles pushed it up for Borrero and ran up for the overlap. Borrero sent it toward the goal instead, where it went in off the plant foot of Crew defenseman Degenek. Own goal notwithstanding, it was the result of consistent pressure. And then 4 minutes later Dejuan almost knocked one in the far corner thanks to a great feed from Borrero. At this point it seemed like the evening was consistently tilting in the Revs’ favor.
Josh: I feel like I just watched it! What happened next?
Matt: Going down a man in the 65’ due to an unnecessary second yellow on Borrero seemed certain to hand all of the momentum back to Columbus, but it didn’t turn out to be so simple. In addition to Petroviç’s fantastic diving save to his right in the 80’, you have to give credit to the Revs for their clock management with the lead. On throw ins, substitution pauses, and more, the Revs worked the clock. Petroviç almost drove the home fans into a frenzy on his goal kicks.
Josh: Unnecessary second yellow that has since been formally elevated to a Red & a fine! Watching it back, it does seem like the rule is that on second yellow/red you no longer get a chance to argue your case, apologize to the player on the ground, really anything before you head to the locker room. So I get the rule, and it seems he perhaps read the room wrong, but woof - that’s a ding for the Revs in Columbus (as we saw unfold) and coming up against SKC.
Matt: Then, the Revs fully parked the bus, but it was not to be. After a L-E-N-G-T-H-Y VAR review on an 89’ non-called handball on Farrell that DID NOT result in a PK despite eating up about 3 minutes of clock, Columbus kept up the pressure in the announced 5’ of added time. The result: netting a practically unstoppable header redirection at the 97:42 mark. Cue: Revs Twitter explosion. To follow the thumb-tapping weaving path of logic, the VAR on Farrell’s obvious handball took too long, but then the amount of time that was added was reasonable. But the VAR took way too long, so that wasn’t cool. But it did, so the extra time was there. Fact: the ball went down onto Farrell’s slightly extended left arm, so that’s a handball. Visible at home. So, the Revs almost got away with one, but didn’t due to the Crew’s relentless attack. I was disappointed as a fan, but if you had told Revs fans before the game they would walk away with a point, most would have been at least reasonably happy.
Josh: To quote Coach Arena - you mean the lengthy phony-baloney VAR review for what should be a more clear-cut decision. And the Revs were resigned to the exciting draw you predicted and I was also excited to see happen. But it’s no fun when it feels that, again, officiating determined the outcome of the match, instead of the play on the field.
Matt: So my big three from these two matches: 1. Montréal was just right for this Revs team to develop their attack and get players in the goal column for the season. Feel good night all around! 2. Altidore put in some serious effort subbing in to try and preserve the lead against Columbus, and I’ll take it, and 3. I’m still keeping an eye on Buck, Bajraktareviç, Panayotou, and Bolma – not only does a club need to plan for an unpredictable future, but I think if the Revs have a chance at doing something worth remembering in the 2023 postseason it will be due to the growth and success of its academy and Revs II program.
Josh: My three looking-forward, no pun intended: Welcome Ben Sweat! I look forward to seeing how he fits into the defensive line. Welcome back Andrew Farrell! Good to see him supporting Petroviç and providing important distributions for the Revs to rebound. And third, injuries - let’s keep these players healthy. While it’s been great seeing the young guys get starts and play for most of a game, it does feel like we’re seeing some wear and tear on some important players. Maybe Coach can be a little more aggressive on the subs in this next stretch, especially with the volume of games in the Spring.
Matt: With any luck the next game against SKC will be a stomp, and one where hopefully we’ll see younger players get more minutes and experience. I’m going to the Cincinnati game, so you can look forward to firsthand pics from that. Unfortunately, even though FC Cincy is helmed by former Rev Pat Noonan, I don’t think he’s going to just donate points to the Bruce Arena/Djordje Petrovic Dunkin’ Donuts fund. I’m looking forward to seeing Vazquez and Brenner play…future USMNT star and Serie A Udinese striker, respectively.
Josh: Cincinnati has been hot & cold this season, so I think you’re right - it will be friendly, but not easy. But the Musketmen need 6 points to distance themselves atop the rankings, as they’re only atop with a goal differential. Hopefully they’ll gain some breathing room so they can rest some legs and get even stronger!
Matt: I say 4 points, hopefully 6 in the next two weeks. Go Revs! Bring the Fight!
Revs Slyde-ing Scale of 1-10 for Games 7 & 8
Final Score on the Revs Slyde-ing Scale: 8.375/10
Twitter and Instagram: @RevsCoasts