As I mentioned in my season preview, don't forget who this team was before Carles Gil arrived. The New England Revolution struggled in the season opener, looking like they were two competitive games out of form in comparison to Montreal. The Impact looked more comfortable with each other and simply worked their way out of an early goal deficit to overcome New England by a score of 2-1.
Let's take a look at the starting 11...
[caption id="attachment_559406" align="aligncenter" width="420"] Headshots from revolutionsoccer.net.[/caption]
Not many new faces in the starting 11 because of injuries, but Henry Kessler started at left center back (with Andrew Farrell at right center back) and Adam Buksa started at forward (with Gustavo Bou as the accompanying forward). The absence of Wilfried Zahibo was an eye-opener, but Diego Fagundez and Scott Caldwell started in the center midfield in what was mostly a true 4-4-2. Teal Bunbury played on the left wing and Cristian Penilla played on the right. Brandon Bye played at right back and DeJuan Jones started at left back, while Matt Turner started in goal.
I'll start with arguably the most positive aspect of the Revolution's game on Saturday afternoon. Prior to this season, the Revolution have never been a side to truly threaten opponents with set pieces on a consistent basis even though they've had the combination of skill and size to be able to do so.
But this year it looks as though it may be a different story. The Revs' first goal came from a beautifully executed corner in the 13th minute. Bou decided to go short to Penilla; who then served the ball to the back post after noticing that Montreal was playing in more of a zone. Bunbury was waiting at the back post after backing off the line of Impact defenders.
The best example of set-piece execution came late in the 17th minute. I noticed before the corner was taken, Bou had a short and quiet discussion with Penilla before placing the ball. Before Bou took the kick, Penilla checked into Bou, and then backed out to open up a nice window on the ground for Bou to find Fagundez (who timed his run well) crashing the top of the box. There's no way for me to know for sure if this was drawn up on the training ground or if it was done on the fly, but if I had to guess, I would say it had been practiced a couple of times before the game. That's a good sign of organization/chemistry.
Lastly, I thought the goal that was called back was a good example of what the Revolution are