ROBC Vol. 1 No. 8, May 11, 2023
Matt: The last few games have been a tough stretch for the Revs. It was a tough sequence:
An encouraging 2-0 win in Toronto, followed by a…
A discouraging 1-0 loss in the US Open Cup against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, then…
A 2-1 loss in Miami on Bloody Saturday (9 red cards issued in 13 games on May 13), ending with…
A decisive 3-0 loss to Philadelphia last Saturday.
Josh: Wow - not the three week sequences we’re used to seeing from the 2023 Revolution. There were certainly good moments, and the Revs are still in a good spot, but understandably the team and the fans are starting to get a little concerned.
Matt: There’s been a lot not going well. Just to get us started, the injury list is growing, with Borrero, Nacho Gil, Kessler, and Maciel not returning any time soon. People are hopeful for Bou, who hasn’t been traveling with the club, as they cross their fingers for Carles Gil, who left the match against Philadelphia in the 35’. There’s also a chance that Bye picked up an injury in Philly as well. Fans are concerned that the issues with the training staff that were alluded to last season haven’t been fully resolved yet, but there is plenty of chatter saying that isn’t it.
Josh: You and our Readers know that I’m quick to focus on the trainers, the rest the team is getting, and the demands of the game on the players. And I think we can also zoom out a little bit and look at where the game has been drifting - more and more physical. Athletically, yes, this is not the soccer where George Best would go from a San Jose dive bar to the pitch. Also, I think the officials need to consider if they’re letting the physical game go a little too far. I know we’ve talked about calls not made in the spirit of letting the game play on; also, looking around the league, there are multiple teams with eight players out with injuries.
Matt: I wonder if it’s getting to the point where not just players, but coaching staff or even owners would consider rule changes, or at least, enforcement changes to keep their players from getting constantly hacked by teams that don’t have much else to offer. If Carles isn’t going to be himself on the field, the team will need to solidify behind Wood and Vrioni at the 9 to consistently create offensive sequences. I hate to say it, but I’m feeling discouraged. I had been hopeful that this would be a team that could make a run in 2023, but I’m not sure the Revs can take much more injury before the season becomes one focused on gaining minutes and experience for players who are looking at the 2024 season.
Josh: Consistency from Vrioni is overdue, regardless of injuries to the rest of the team. And if Gil and Bou need a week to recover, then he’s the only Designated Player active in the roster, so let’s see his feet join where his paycheck is. I’ve got a lot of confidence in Farrell and Jones in the back line and Buck is just one of the emerging strong Homegrowns for our Revs. We’re not putting your season tickets on StubHub quite yet.
Matt: Well, there are some interesting opportunities for minutes coming up. Chicago will be in Gillette this weekend, and then the Revs travel down to Atlanta for a Wednesday tilt before a match at NYC the following Saturday. This will be a decisive sequence that will tell us if the Revs will still make the playoffs or sink to the middle of the pack.
Josh: A three-game week for a team working through injuries can be rough for sure. And these three opponents are all in flux eager for three points - Chicago has been hot and cold this season, Atlanta has Almada, and NYCFC wants to jump into the postseason bracket ASAP. Each team will be testing a different part of the Revs arsenal, and this week will rely on smart choices from the coaching staff to keep the Fort strong in the right places.
Matt: Not to change the subject, but the Pride Jerseys look great. While I’m not a big fan of mostly white jerseys, the colorful sleeves balance out the kit. It’s almost a throwback vibe. Crayola crayons were invented in 1903, but style-wise I think the jersey harkens back to 1973.
Josh: Matt. Kit talk is always on the agenda. After last year’s tiffany lamp, I can understand why the league went for a simpler look. I like the bold colors, but I can’t wear a white jersey and enjoy hot cocoa at the stadium - it will end poorly for the jersey. For me, “Love Unites” is a good, safe, statement that says nothing. While I’m glad for any effort every year, I’ll be skipping this one.
Matt: Another kit-related stat I’ll be looking into in the coming weeks - will a statistical analysis reveal that the Revs play better in their blue Liberty Kits? They’ve worn blue for some away games, so hopefully there will be enough data at this point in the season to suggest something other than a null hypothesis.
Josh: I can tell you that the Revs do not do well when I’m wearing my Liberty blue shirt on the couch, so I’ll probably dig up some red & white for this week. And I do think American Soccer is primed for some unusual stats, like our friends in baseball.
Matt: Shifting back to a positive: props to Dejuan Jones for making the preliminary roster for the USMNT. This is great news about a great guy! A few years ago I met him and he was chill, humble and likable.
Josh: One hundred percent. I’m glad to hear that when you’ve met him at Gillette, he is as cool and positive as he appears within the touch lines. I’m a Jones fan and think he has a lot to offer any team he plays for. I’m glad he’s sticking around New England!
Matt: Buck seems to have secured the starting XI role at this point. Looking ahead, I’m a fan of more playing time the better for Panayotou, who did well subbing in for Carles Gil against the Union. Let’s get more minutes as well for Bajraktarević and Rennicks. And If we’re looking for more good news about the future, on Sunday the Revs II came back from a 3-1 deficit in the 75’ to win 4-3. Jacob Jackson made his first appearance in net after last year’s ACL injury and made 4 saves, Bajraktarević scored the first hat trick in Revs II history, and Marcos Dias scored the equalizer before Esmir put the Revs II ahead for good.
Josh: That is great news! With injuries, international rotations, and the looming Leagues Cup, I think Coach Arena can call on a handful of those Revs II standouts to spend some minutes with the first team. Maybe not - the rules are fuzzy for me, and I feel like I got cross-eyed when I went looking last time.
Matt: Add the unknowns about which direction the Revs are going to go to replace Borrero on the roster and you’ll definitely need your glasses. In the meanwhile, Almada and Giakoumakis seem formidable in Atlanta, but other than that there are games where fans can be hopeful. With a plausible chance for a win over Chicago and a draw against NYCFC, right now I would say the Revs have the potential for 4 points from the next three matches.
Josh: Memorial Day weekend is a great time to remind American soccer fans and teams where the Revolution that started our independence began - I’ll say a realistic 5 and a hopeful 7!
Matt: If you’re a Revs fan without tickets, right now the team is running a 4-pack with food coupons. It’s a great deal! Go Revs! Bring the Fight!
Revs Slyde-ing Scale of 1-10 for Games 11, 12 & 13
Final Score on the Revs Slyde-ing Scale: 6.6/10 - Barely a passing grade at the one-third mark. We know our Revs can do better.
Twitter and Instagram: @RevsCoasts