In one of the choppier games of the season, the Revolution were able to sneak past Orlando by taking advantage of their opportunities when they got them. New England's approach to the game undulated several times, but the players were able to execute their coach's direction every step of the way.
Let's look at the starting 11...
[caption id="attachment_593963" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Headshots from revolutionsoccer.net.[/caption]
No point in changing what works. Bruce Arena sent his team out in the same personnel grouping/formation as last week. Adam Buksa ran as the lone forward between the two wingers; Carles Gil and Teal Bunbury. Gustavo Bou played as the attacking center midfielder with Matt Polster and Scott Caldwell playing more defensive below him. Across the back it was DeJuan Jones at left back, Henry Kessler at left center back, Andrew Farrell at right center back, and Tajon Buchanan at right back. Matt Turner played in goal.
In the first half of the game, before either team scored, both teams were trying to get a feel for one another and it became apparent that Orlando would be trying to beat New England over the top. The Lions have a very physical front and it seemed like they were banking on getting the ball to them in 1v1 situations against the New England outside backs.
Ideally for the Lions, they would get Nani 1v1 against Buchanan, Mueller 1v1 against Jones, and Dike 1v1 against either New England center back. They were pinging balls over the top every chance they got.
And they eventually broke through in the 33rd minute.
Nani played a long diagonal pass over the top of the back line to Chris Mueller who was able to shake past outside back DeJuan Jones. Matt Turner made a goalkeeping error and Orlando buried the eventual rebound.
Adapting to stages of the game
This game went through several different stages because of the many events that occurred throughout. There were four goals and several calls from the referee that swayed the momentum of the game. So let's walk through them chronologically and go over their impact on the game.
The 1st New England goal (15th minute) - The first Orlando goal (33rd minute)
- By the time the Revolution scored their first goal, they were still working on stymying the direct nature of Orlando's approach. But they gained momentum by getting Buchanan forward and earning a penalty. Orlando responded by tallying four little scoring chances until the Revolution added another goal on a counter about five minutes later. Before things could get out of hand in the Revolution's favor, Nani's cross resulted in an Orlando goal that brought them back to one. During this entire time frame, momentum largely sat with Orlando despite the two opportunistic moments from the white shirts.
The first Orlando goal (33rd minute) - End of the first half