Montreal manager Remi Garde asked for more out of his attacking players this week, and they responded. The Montreal Impact put the Revolution in their place on Saturday in a demanding 4-2 win that wasn't as close as the scoreline says it was. New England had no answers for Ignacio Piatti and his supporting cast as they sliced up the Revolution's shaky back line for 90 minutes in this Week 10 matchup.
Let's look at the starting 11...
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As expected, the Revolution rolled out in the same 4-5-1 that they have in the last two games. The most recent change in a starting 11 for the Revolution was when Brad Friedel decided to start Juan Agudelo over Scott Caldwell in between the FC Dallas match and the Columbus Crew SC match. Of course, the change in personnel brought Luis Caicedo into the center midfield and Agudelo took over the role on the wing.
No presence in the midfield: This issue was even more glaring in the first half of the game, but it was evident throughout. The Revolution's midfielders -- Diego Fagundez, Luis Caicedo, and Wilfried Zahibo -- were virtually invisible in the center of the field, especially on the ball. The Impact were beating the Revolution midfielders to nearly every free ball and contesting every 50/50 ball with a high success rate. Any observer could see that the Revolution's midfielders were becoming tired because of the time they spent off of the ball, chasing the game instead of dictating it. Look at the heat map for the Revolution as a team after the first half.
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In situations like this, it's crucial for the Revolution's midfielders to recognize their lack of presence in the midfield and increase the team's possession through it. When a team is struggling to develop a rhythm of play through the midfield, it is common to see a midfield increase their work rate when their defenders are on the ball, to receive the ball and pull defending midfielders out. We saw virtually none of this from Zahibo and Caicedo when the Revs needed it most.
I know that they were able to get on the ball in the last 15 minutes of the game, but Montreal wants the midfielders to get the ball in those wide open spaces at that stage in the game. That's garbage-time possession and not even remotely similar to what they needed in the first half.
There are two major reasons why I believe this lack of rhythm in the center midfield continues to occur in the Revolution's game. The first is that -- for some reason -- Claude Dielna refuses to play simple passes into the central defensive midfielders. When I do see him make those plays, the pass is often made with the wrong timing. I tell you about this situation in the video below.
The other reason that I believe that the Revolution struggle to possess in the midfield is because of the disconnect between Fagundez and the other two midfielders. Often, Fagundez is in a high position because of his responsibility to press on the defensive side of the ball and this leaves a large gap between him and the other two midfielders (Caicedo and Zahibo).
The backline: It was clear Saturday that the Revolution clearly didn't give the Impact enough respect coming into today's match after their 4-0 win at Gillette a month ago.