Revolution 2, D.C. United 2: A Supporter’s View

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D.C. United’s climb out of the Eastern Conference hit a snag in New England last Thursday. D.C. was up two goals and playing the type of soccer most of us expected them to play.

Then the defense collapsed yet again.

New England rebounded from an awful first half to erase the two-goal deficit as Matt Reis kept his team in the match yet again with a series of acrobatic saves. The tie moved the Revs into first place in the West, with the Chicago Fire on a bye week.

SBI Correspondents Andrew Karl and Joel Sanderson took in the action and shared their thoughts with us:

Revs settle for tie on quiet night at empty Gillette

By ANDREW KARL

It’s official, there is power in the soul patch. Matt Reis graced a national audience with his second consecutive man of the match performance for New England, making even more clutch saves in the draw against DC than the win against the Crew. After a dismal first half, the Revolution fought back from two goals down to earn a point. Besides the keeper, some credit for the comeback has to go to goal scorers Adam Cristman and Kheli Dube, as well as the tactical decisions of to Steve Nicol. 

Last week in Columbus Matt Reis christened his newly grown bit of facial hair with several big saves, insuring his team came away with points. On Thursday night at Gillette Stadium, Reis made 8 saves, most of them of the highest quality in carrying his teammates to the draw.  I called him heroic last week but he was simply inspirational this week, keeping the Revs in the game and spurring the team on to a comeback.  His defense didn’t help him out one bit; all three defenders were guilty of mistakes that lead to chance after chance. With performances like these, Reis has to be the early front runner for Goalkeeper of the Year. 

Coach Nicol started Dube as a lone forward with Nyassi and Ralston in behind but switched tactics in the 39th minute. He opted to replace Wells Thompson with Cristman, moving Nyassi out to the right wing.  It’s not often you see a first half substitution without an injury being involved, but this change was a welcome and smart move. The starting formation wasn’t working well enough in getting forward and the new striker pairing of Dube and Cristman did just enough to produce. Nicol has struck gold each time he has varied his tactics this year, earning wins when fielding a 4-4-2 against Dallas and a 3-6-1 against Chivas. A coach who preaches stability, this willingness to adapt to the state of the squad is a new found ability of Nicol’s. Could we also have an early front runner for Coach of the Year?

As if the comeback on the field wasn’t dramatic enough, there was more drama in the stands.  The Midnight Riders sat in silence for the first 12 minutes of the game in protest to the Revolution front office. I’m not a member, and my seat is far from their section, the Fort, so I was unaware of the reason for the protest. I’m still unsure of the exact reason, but it appears that relations between the group and the front office are strained. Also, the announced attendance was only around 8,000, a bit embarrassing on national television. As our attendance lags and our ultras sit silent, this fan can’t help but be jealous of the atmosphere found at stadiums like BMO Field and RFK Stadium.

The move out of cavernous Gillette Stadium and into a soccer-specific stadium of New England’s own, can’t come soon enough…if it ever comes at all. I want more than a successful team, more than a championship, I want a full football experience week in and week out. I want a stadium close to the city, full to the brim, with supporters singing in the terraces. Isn’t that the point? It’s what MLS Commissioner Don Garber alludes to and markets.  But is it a tall order in New England?  I hope not, but my confidence in the front office to take this team in that direction isn’t terribly high.  I ask my fellow fans, do you share a similar vision of the future Revolution, and do you think we’ll eventually see it realized?

Defense disappoints D.C. United again

By JOEL SANDERSON

The fundamentals of defense are lost on DC. And yet for a half, it looked like the best team on the field was by far DC. It really wasn’t even close. DC was controlling the ball. That was probably the big change, between this game and previous games – they were able to hold the ball.

The Revolution didn’t have many chances in the first half. Normally, that would be a laudatory achievement for DC, but it didn’t have much to do with the way DC played. The Revolution were all mixed up and seemed to have the usual DC syndrome of playing like it was a preseason scrimmage.

And yet… The Revolution did get some quality chances, in particular Dube’s play at the very end of the half. (Point of information: Wells did not make that save.) Once again, where was the actually marking?

DC’s ability to hold and control the ball in the first half prevent NE from having many opportunities. Simms did a good job of breaking up some of the Revs runs.

Offensively, DC looked alive. Movement and crisp passes. Those have been rare. Fred and Gallardo work well together.

They made it into the final third so easily. In the first Toronto game last week, they still looked like they couldn’t move the ball more than ten yards past midfield without having to move the ball back again. No such troubles against the Revs.

And, no, they couldn’t finish well, but that wasn’t entirely DC’s fault. Matt Reis had a phenomenal game. It was disgusting, a ball-headed nightmare.

1-0. That was the score DC took into halftime after completely controlling the run of play. It wasn’t quite what they should have had, but it was a step. A good half against a good team. That was a new trick. And in the rival’s stadium no less!

Luckily, I’m a realist. The way I figured, with the defense still looking holey, the Revs only needed one good opportunity to tie it up and I certainly didn’t have confidence that the DC defense wouldn’t allow that moment.

The second half began almost evenly. I was worried. Any time DC is playing even these days, I know that ultimately the defense will forget that being between the ball and the other team is an effective way of stopping goals and Zach Wells will wander off to some corner of the goal like little red riding hood.

When Fred scored, I thought, “hey, 2-1?” You’ll notice I still assumed that the Revs would score one.

Well, that was a fun moment. Cristman got it to 2-1.

Then Dube had his moment. 2-2. I really liked the amoeba soccer defense.

“Oh look, there’s the ball. Did you guys see the ball, cause I totally did. It went over my head!”

“No, yeah I saw it, let’s head that way.

“Do you know if there are any Revs on this end of the field?”

“Who cares! Watch the ball!”

Goal.

I’m just glad the defense held out as long as it did. Gallardo started getting frustrated with all the focus the Revs threw his way and started trying to do too much. There were still some chances, but Reis continued to be evil.

In New England, up against a quality team, DC held the upper hand. Emilio had some, dare I say it, nifty moves. The midfield never looked too overmatched, except maybe my boy Rod. The defense remained appalling. I am willing to watch Martinez-Mediate try again though.

That’s four points in three not so poorly played games. The team still doesn’t have a very high ceiling if that’s the best they’ve got. But I’ll call it progress.

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17 Responses to Revolution 2, D.C. United 2: A Supporter’s View

  1. Tim Crawford says:

    The stadium was empty because everyone who is willing to go to a weeknight game is waiting to go to this Friday’s doublheader instead. Hence the 8,000. Sad though that MLS put both Revs-DC matches @ Gillette on weeknights where the crowds will not be nearly as large as they would be on the weekends.

  2. Christopher says:

    When we are promised rights that other fans in the league are given and then those rights are taken away last minute with a week explanation the only thing that we can do is protest.

    They told us that strips of fabric like Chivas USA use are a fire hazard and can’t be allowed in the fort. They also told us balloons aren’t allowed either. This is all after we received an initial go ahead.

    As for the attendence, Gillette Stadium sucks for soccer, there is no public transportation and the traffic around that area is brutal.

  3. Andrew Karl says:

    Thanks for the info Christopher.

    All valid points about Gillette Stadium too. Here’s a question though, when/if a new stadium is built, will beer/concessions be as expensive as they are at Gillette? That’s on the forefront of my mind…read: I’m cheap.

  4. Matt says:

    no more excuses. As a Revs fan, I’m willing to call it what it is. I don’t know what is going on this year, but something has to be done to attract more fans. We can’t just keep making up excuses every week because that’s what we do. At some point, you just have to admit the FO has a problem on their hands, which they do.

  5. Pathetic Revs Ownership says:

    The Revolution ownership is a pathetic mess. They don’t care about the team. They don’t care about the fans.

    For 12 (going on 13) seasons, this ownership has been a complete joke. I will not be renewing my season tickets, and may stop watching this team altogether.

    Why should I support a club, that doesn’t support me as a fan? It’s a joke…no, it’s a disgrace.

  6. Reid says:

    I’ve been kicking this idea around (in my head) for a couple weeks now. I think the only way to get people in new england interested in MLS is to take it away from them (atleast take it away from foxboro). People always want what they dont have. Sucks for me its the closest stadium. The Kraft’s need to do what they did with teh Patriots… Lie to a town on a rail line around Boston that somewhere in CT/RI had promised to build the stadium and pay for most of it. Maybe then a town/city in Mass will spring for the stadium.

    As a fan i’m at my breaking point with attendance and with the Krafts.

    Oh and on more thing… the Revs have the worst schedule in MLS, week night games, sat games starting at 730, sunday night games. Who wants to come down from boston if by the time they get back it is 1030-11.

    Sorry for the lengthy writing, I try not to do it that much

  7. Christopher says:

    Our schedule has been awful this year too. All Saturday night games were when the weather was brutally cold and now our only home games are during the week where it is impossible to make it to the stadium.

    I bet if we ever got a new stadium it would be cheaper for beer and the like.

  8. Tim Crawford says:

    Gotta say, these comments seem a bit ridiculous . . . Attendance started real slow last year too, but it was pretty consistent by the end. It wasn’t good, but I think we’re gonna get right to where we were. Not to mention this Friday will be 50K+. I don’t know what more could really be done . . . the team wins, people seem to know about them plenty, they’re in the paper more than other teams . . . My beef is that the team always seems to choke when extra fans are there. Let’s see if they can put on a good show Friday night.

  9. HomeyBoehme says:

    Thanks for saying something about the protest. I was watching the game on TV, and I seriously wondered why the crowd got louder after the first 15 minutes. I was like, “Did they just mic the crowd to create some atmosphere, or did a lot of the crowd show up late to the game?”

    And thank you for NOT throwing streamers onto the field (although it sounds like maybe you didn’t have a choice). I enjoyed not having corner kicks take 3 minutes.

  10. Christopher says:

    We throw streamers on the field after goal celebrations. We never direct them at a player or intend to disrupt play.

    @ Tim. What could be done is move to a new stadium. We need to have a place of our own.

  11. HomeyBoehme says:

    “We throw streamers on the field after goal celebrations. We never direct them at a player or intend to disrupt play.”

    As it should be all across the MLS. Thank you Revolution fans, and I mean that sincerely.

  12. Andrew Karl says:

    I’m glad Tim brought up this Friday nights game. For those out there who dont know, it’s a double header, Revs-Dallas @6.30 – Brazil-Venezuela @8.30.

    While there will be 50,000 people there, how many of those people will go in and sit down during the Revs game? First off i’ll be surprised if 10,000 Revs fans are even able to get into the stadium by 6.30 on a friday night. The traffic’s going to be horrible not just from weekend/commuting but from the Brazil crowd too.

    I’m looking forward to the game very very much but I’m not looking forward to the mess of traffic. I’m curious as to how many people fill in and watch the Revs, as well as how many people miss the Revs game because of traffic.

  13. NateP says:

    Count me in among those missing the double header. There is just no way I can make a 2.5 hour drive down through Fri rush hour to watch the Revs be the warm up act for Brazil’s fans. I bet there are less than the 8K that there for DC when the Revs are playing. During the second half people will start to stream in but they won’t be Revs fans, and you won’t hear the dispersed Fort over the “Brazil” chants.

    At least I can try to get a Brazil fan to buy my ticket and parking pass so I can recoup some of the money I spent on season tix.

  14. Reid says:

    The Mexico v Brazil game last year was crazy traffic wise, if you kids are looking to go to the braz v venez game get off a couple exits early and research a back road way in. A fun time but i just dont see it being for a rush hour type scenario…. oh and run to your car afterwards, it might be worse getting out then pats games.

  15. Kevin says:

    I wouldn’t suggest RI. People LOVE soccer here, and there’s a huge latino population, but no one gives a hoot about MLS. It’s all about foreign soccer. All my friends talk about is the Euros or Champions League or something, and I’m like WHO CARES?? YOU HAVE GREAT SOCCER 20 MINUTES AWAY AT GILLETTE STADIUM? it’s funny how Rhode Islanders to do the LOONGG TEDIOUUSSS ROAD TRIP to FOXBORO for a Pats game, but when the Revs come up, it’s a special occasion, like the Beckham game. Plus, I doubt there’s any room to build a stadium in RI. Providence has absolutely no free land, and neither do any of it’s suburbs.

  16. Reid says:

    The Krafts get a free pass when it comes to MLS for all the money they lost in the beginning of the league so don juan garber isnt gonna say shite to them

  17. dcsportsfan says:

    Interesting interview about D.C. United struggles. link to comcastsportsnet.tv