BSJ Match #11 Breakdown & Ratings: Crew 1, Revs 0 – 3-5-2 alignment gave Columbus room to run

(Andrew Snook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The better of the two teams came out on top on a miserable night in Gillette. The New England Revolution and Columbus Crew SC battled in a fairly physical meeting for 85 minutes before the visitors snuck one past Matt Turner on a corner kick. This was a tough yet eye-opening result for The Boys in Blue. The best teams find ways to win games like this, and Columbus is a top team in the league this year; the Revolution, are not.

Let's look at the starting 11...

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For the second week in a row, Brad Friedel opted for Antonio Delamea over Claude Dielna. Brandon Bye got his second MLS start and Kelyn Rowe got his second consecutive start after returning from his injury. Chris Tierney started over Gabriel Somi for the second week in a row after playing well in last week's match against Toronto FC.


The 3-5-2: From Friedel's perspective, I think the 3-5-2 was used to clog Columbus' chances to build out of the back and make them uncomfortable on the ball. If you watch any of Crew SC's other games, it's blatantly clear they love to get their defenders (or Will Trapp) on the ball deep and build their attack from there. Friedel wanted to force them to beat the Revs in a different way. I'll lay out for the way in which the Crew were able to break down the Revolution's game plan.

This image (Revs in blue, and Columbus in yellow) is what the game looked like when Zack Steffen was on the ball. Teal Bunbury, Cristian Penilla, and the rest of the Revolution's front six made obvious attempts to disallow the Crew to get on the ball comfortably in their own defensive third. However, this stretched the midfield for both teams. The gap between the Jonathan Mensah and Jalil Anibaba was generally large and it allowed for Steffen to play into the forwards with space to play oncoming midfielders.

Here's a snapshot of the Crew exposing this space in the 60th minute.

The continuous attacks that came from Federico Higuain, Artur, and Gyasi Zardes beat down on the Revs' back line and eventually broke through in the form of a corner kick.

The disconnect: Another week, another glaring example that New England is simply not capable of breaking down the midfield of opposing teams. They develop their attack in counters, set pieces, and turnovers in the opposition's own end. The lack of possession in the midfield is becoming increasingly problematic and their attack is dependent on their defensive efforts.

Perhaps the reason for this is