Keys to the Game vs. New England Revolution
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If we thought it was bad losing our captain Jay DeMerit, now we have to compensate for the loss of our best defender this season, Andy O’Brien. They are not only both central defenders, but leaders on the field who command their defence and cut an imposing figure at the back.
We have quality players to fill in for them, but you do not simply replace players of this caliber. The only way to make up for their absence is through solid team defending.
New England are playing with a lot of confidence right now. They are unbeaten in their last five MLS games (and last seven including two U.S. Open Cup wins) and have not conceded a goal in the last 395 minutes.
They have a number of dangerous attacking players so we will have to make sure we are defending as a team, which starts with our front men. We absolutely must stay compact from back to front and make sure that the Revolution do not get into a flow with good possession.
We need to disrupt them with some solid team defence, which everybody has to buy into.
Fagundez and Rowe combine for goal against LA Galaxy
Diego Fagundez and Kelyn Rowe are two young players on the Revs that are playing with a lot of confidence right now and should get some special attention.
Fagundez is only 18-years of age and is New England’s first Homegrown player. This youngster from Uruguay is having a breakout year and is the team’s leading scorer with five goals. He is fast and has good technique and needs to be watched.
Rowe, meanwhile, is leading the team in assists. He’s got a lethal shot as well, as evidenced by his two goals on Wednesday in the U.S. Open Cup. He is a handful and can play a number of positions.
While stopping these players alone won’t win the match, it would certainly go a long way.
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Another way to stop a good offence is to make sure the other team doesn’t have the ball, and by tiring them out with constant defending on their part.
We have the attacking players to take the game to New England and our home form has been really good against some of the best teams in Major League Soccer. In fact, we are one of only three teams to remain unbeaten at home this season (FC Dallas and Montreal Impact are the other two).
As I have said many times before, we are at our best when we play at a high tempo and this will be a big key to this game. The Revs like to get their fullbacks forward a lot and dangerous strikers who could hurt us, but they won’t be so effective if they are chasing our players around.