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Posts Tagged ‘Ian Holliday’

By Ian Holliday

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of reasons not to like the U.S. Open Cup. Whether you don’t like the format (Why do only eight MLS teams qualify?), or think it leads to schedule congestion (I bet Steve Nicol would prefer not to have to take his beleaguered Revs to New York tomorrow night.), or just don’t care about the tournament because MLS teams don’t seem to take it seriously (Admit it, it’s kind of hard to get excited about Bobby Shuttleworth in goal against the likes of Connor Chinn for the Red Bulls, although the latter did have a great game against Philly.), there are plenty of legitimate complaints to make about the Open Cup. While I don’t begrudge anyone their right to make such complaints, I have to say that, despite all its flaws, I love the U.S. Open Cup. And I think you should too.

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It’s been a rough start, but there are reasons to feel good about this Revs team.

By Ian Holliday

Last night’s 3-2 loss to Columbus was the Revolution’s eighth match of the season, which means the team has already played more than one quarter of its 2010 MLS schedule. Obviously, things haven’t gone exactly as planned for the Revs thus far. Seven points from eight matches puts the team on pace for a decidedly bad season, one that would end with the Revs out of the playoffs for the first time in 9 years. There are plenty of reasons to be pessimistic about this Revolution team: injuries, card suspensions, a general lack of quality — particularly in the midfield, and the inexperience of youth, to name a few. We all know what’s wrong, and we all have our ideas about how we’d like to fix it. That’s another column for another day (or perhaps, my first column from a week ago).

Today’s column is about what’s going right with this Revolution team, the optimistic take on this rough start.

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Final thoughts from tonight’s Revolution vs. Chivas USA match:

  • After giving up a third goal early in the half, the Revs played better than they had for the first 47 minutes. Sure, they were behind the ball for a lot of the second half, but that’s been this team’s MO in recent years. The possession wasn’t nearly as lopsided as it had been in the first half, and more importantly, the possession they did have actually looked threatening, on occasion. Still not a good performance from the Revs in the second half, but not an awful one like the first half.
  • Khano Smith and Kenny Mansally both looked good after the latter entered around minute 75. The two combined for the Revolution’s best (and only real) chance of the night.
  • Pat Phelan also improved his play in the second half.
  • A comprehensive victory for Chivas USA, which moved the ball well and could easily have scored more than four goals. Part of the Revs’ improvement as the second half wore on can be chalked up to the Goats taking their foot off the gas.
  • Now the Revs have to travel to Columbus on a short week, without Marko Perovic, who will be suspended. They get Kheli Dube and Joseph Niouky back, but I think we could see Tierney in the central midfield again in place of the latter. Needless to say, right now a result looks highly unlikely.

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Hi everybody, It’s Ian Holliday with some thoughts from the first half of tonight’s Revolution vs. Chivas USA match:

  • Four defensive lapses for the Revs during that first half, two of which Chivas was able to convert. It’s a shame because the Revs actually started the game better than they’ve started the last few. Before the first goal the Revs were actually managing some semblance of possession, but the goal, followed by the red card to Marko Perovic took a lot of the wind out of the team’s sails.
  • Speaking of Perovic, he has to be smarter in that situation. A red card might have been a little harsh for that incident (Perovic missed with the first arm and the Chivas player embellished the second a bit), but he shouldn’t have been retaliating in the first place.
  • Zack Schilawski looks more confident every time he steps on the pitch. He hasn’t seen much of the ball since the opening 10 minutes, but during that time he used his body, made good runs, and generally looked comfortable up top.
  • The Revs didn’t get their first free kick until the 36th minute. They weren’t necessarily deserving of one before that point, but there were several borderline events that had resulted in no-calls before then, things that would have probably been fouls in another league. Jay Heaps made a good point when he said Perovic probably retaliated because he assumed the ref wasn’t going to call the foul. Again, that’s not an excuse for Perovic’s actions, just an explanation of  his possible thought process.
  • Pat Phelan needs to do better. He’s been almost a non-entity in the midfield for the Revs. Chris Tierney hasn’t been much better, but he gets a pass because it’s his first start in central midfield. Phelan doesn’t need to be Shalrie Joseph, but he does need to impose himself more on the game: close down players, win headers, make intelligent passes, etc.
  • Will we see Edgaras Jankauskas in the second half? His ability to hold the ball would be a plus, but he’s not always the best at getting back on defense. Try to enjoy the second half. I’ll see you for postgame reflections.

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by Ian Holliday

One of the major storylines that has come out of the New England Revolution’s recent 2-game losing streak has been the team’s inability to maintain possession. It’s no coincidence that Shalrie Joseph missed both of those games with an injury, nor is it an accident that the only game he started this year was the Revs’ 4-1 demolition of Toronto FC.  But all hope is not lost for the Revs without their influential midfielder. In fact, while a player like Joseph is impossible to replace, a simple change in tactics could go a long way toward compensating for his absence and solving the team’s possession problem.

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