The first half of the game didn't go in their favor, due in part to a formation that didn't suit the matchup and slow speed of play. But Bruce Arena made some changes and the players improved on the pitch, which put the Houston Dynamo under serious pressure. New England knocked on the door for 20 minutes before they broke through, but let's break down what allowed them to turn the tables.
Let's look at the starting 11...
[caption id="attachment_515678" align="aligncenter" width="429"] Headshots from revolutionsoccer.net.[/caption]
Several changes in the starting 11 in the Revolution's second game of the week. Arena opted to start the game in a 4-4-2. Juan Fernando Caicedo played up front in the forward role alongside Justin Rennicks. Diego Fagundez and Juan Agudelo ran the wings on the outside of Carles Gil and Luis Caicedo, who played in the center midfield. Brandon Bye and DeJuan Jones played the right and left back positions, wide of Antonio Delamea and Andrew Farrell. Matt Turner returned from suspension to start in goal.
In-game adjustments: Arena decided -- for a reason I cannot seem to figure out -- that a 4-4-2 would be the best way to approach this Houston Dynamo matchup. Justin Rennicks and Juan Fernando Caicedo were leading the unit as the two forwards and the midfield became stretched, especially in times when Rennicks and Juan Caicedo pressed, and Carles Gil supported them with his own pressing on the back line. This opened up the Revolution midfield and it left them exposed when the Dynamo opted to play over the top.
The New England coaching staff noticed the limit that this formation placed on their players, and decided to go back to the 4-5-1. Rennicks dropped out to the left wing, Fagundez jumped out to the right wing, and Agudelo slid into the midfield role that he has become accustomed to since the coaching change.
The change made all the difference in the world. That was when the game began to tilt heavily in the Revolution's direction. This was their offensive production chart in the first half (green arrows are shots on target, red arrows are shots off target, and soccer balls are goals)...
[caption id="attachment_515829" align="aligncenter" width="337"] MLSsoccer.com[/caption]
And this was their offensive production chart in the second half...