Sunday, May 13, 2007

Revs Beat LA Galaxy 3-2, Move To Top Of MLS

The Revs haven't played a game like that in quite awhile. Sure, last week's scoreline was 3-1, but both teams deserved a slap on the wrist for their performance. The game that just finished at the Home Depot Center in LA had what most Revolution games have lacked since 2005: pace. There were glimpses of that quick-passing possession team of old, as well as Adam Cristman really exerting himself physically on an opponent for the first time. The Revs defense did look weak when LA countered, but for the most part, it was their best performance of the season. (click title to read article)

LA took a 1-0 lead into halftime with a well-placed Kyle Martino volley in the 14th minute. It was one of two chances the Galaxy had on net in the first half. However, the other, which was also on the counter attack, came about by Landon Donovan simply outplaying James Riley on the right side of the goal mouth. Luckily, Landycakes flubbed the shot wide.

The Revs did have their chances in the opening period. Most notably, Adam Cristman somehow missed a sitter resulting from a miss-timed cross to Twellman. On another occasion, Cristman beat his mark through shear man-strength and had a clear chance on net only to have his shot deflected out by a diving Ty Harden.

Luckily for New England, LA didn't come out for the second half quite as motivated as the boys in blue. Adam Cristman scored his first career MLS goal when he boxed out his defender to turn on a Steve Ralston flick-on header. The assist puts Stevie at #2 on the all-time MLS assists list, just one behind Carlos Valderrama. Oh, and did I mention he set the all-time games played record for MLS regular season games played tonight, also? Way to go Stevie!

New England didn't wait too long afterwards to take the lead. In the 52nd minute, Taylor Twellman headed a Jay Heaps feed off the crossbar and then finished off the rebound by heading the ball in the net. The Revs dominated the action for the next ten minutes, before falling into their all to familiar "protect the one goal lead shell". LA evened up the score sheet with a Tyrone Marshall short post header off of a corner kick.

The Revolution response was quick. Pat Noonan, who was substituted in for Cristman ten minutes earlier, fed Taylor Twellman a perfect pass in front of net where his fellow Missouri native finished for the winner. That was the way the game ended as the Revs moved to the top of the MLS table with 14 points.

It's hard to find a lot to fault after a fine, energetic showing on the road, but I'll give it a whack. James Riley looked shaky in the back, even before his nemesis, Nate Jaqua, came on. LA seemed to find a way to create space on his side all night. I thought Jeff Larentowicz was invisible for most of the night, and the pace of the game may have been too quick for him at times.

That's about all the negatives, though. Khano Smith worked Chris Albright hard on the left side and you could see the effect that had on him. Smith may have not won every battle, but he was a positive factor. He also made a few moves beating defenders to his right. The scouting report on him will have to be updated, as overplaying his left foot may not be a successful tactic in the future.

The rest of the team looked sharp, especially when passing to create space. That may have been a hit against LA's lack of a presence in the midfield, but the Revs just haven't looked that good in so long.

Lastly, Micheal Parkhurst may have been the key to victory. His marking and positioning squelched many the Galaxy attack before it could start, and I can't say too many good things about his timely tackling.

Next up is Houston in a rematch of MLS Cup. Win that one, and they'll look like world beaters heading home to Foxboro in two weeks time.

Other Recaps

New England Revolution Official Site
ESPN Soccernet
Boston Globe

1 Comment:

Adrian said...

Here are the highlights