March 10, 2012; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Jose Earthquakes defender VActor Bernardez (26) controls the ball between New England Revolution players during the second half at Buck Shaw Stadium. The San Jose Earthquakes defeated the New England Revolution 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
After taking a day of rest to think about everything, I guess the match Saturday night wasn't that bad. After all, that's what we do here at The Bent Musket--find the positives whenever and wherever we can. And if you're going to get the positive juices flowing out of me, then the start of the season is prime-time for it.
The fact of the matter is that it's too early to tell anything at this point. I mean, it's easy to point fingers at Blake Brettshneider for not being the quality forward we yearn for, or the sub-par performance of A.J. Soares who was slotted in at left back at the last minute, or to look at Rowe's game as comparatively lackluster. But, overall, I'd say that there was a lot of quality out there that is still working out some of the kinks.
Firstly, on Rowe, I am more than willing to cut him some slack on this one. It was his first MLS match and I'm sure that it became quite apparent to him early on in the game that everything was raised a level or two compared to college and pre-season. Rowe just needs to find his footing, and perhaps part of that is Jay Heaps playing around with the roster and formations some more.
The point is, we shouldn't expect him to emerge as the next Clint Dempsey this season. It will be much better for everybody involved if we just end up being pleasantly surprised if that ends up the case by this October, or next October, or the October after that. All I'm saying is, let's temper our expectations just a bit.
Here's a positive for you: Stephen McCarthy looks to be playing better and better every game in his new role at match and has looked more and more comfortable on the back line. If this continues, then he may provide the serviceable depth at CB that the Revs have lacked in seasons past.
I also thought Clyde Simms performed fairly well in this match. Sure, he could have been more involved in moving the ball up the field, but he was also a big contributing factor to the Revs conceding only one goal. He has a good work rate and I think we may see him as a really important part of this team down the stretch.
So, how about that Lee Nguyen, huh? While he didn't exactly rescue the game, he came pretty damn close. I think everyone was pretty impressed with Nguyen on Saturday and surely Revs nation will be hoping to see more of him in Kansas City this weekend-maybe even in the starting XI.
As many have hinted at, we may be on the cusp of Benny Feilhaber having a breakout year. Only time will tell, and, again, it's way too early to make any grandiose predictions, but he looked in great form on Saturday and we can only hope that it continues. Feilhaber showcased the skills, intelligence, and leadership we expected from him immediately upon finding his way to New England last season. His quality was there on arrival, but Benny was also subject to an adjustment period in the middle of a troubled season and in a brand new league. As Revs fans know all too well, patience is a virtue, and I think maybe--just maybe--that patience may pay off this season.
The issues that we had against San Jose are pretty apparent, and I won't dwell too much on them here. I think that we have come to expect a lot more from our captain Shalrie Joseph and I am hopeful that we can chalk this one up as just an off-game. In general, though, the Revs should be focused on keeping the ball on the ground, as many other writers will mention as well. And I mean for the full 90 minutes, not just in the second half. If anything, let's start there and get that Heaps-ian soccer flowing.
Let's face it, there are a lot of new faces in blue and red this season, so some growing pains are to be expected. But we'll only be able to write off the mistakes and the short-comings and the losses for so long; the fans know it, the Front Office knows it, and Jay Heaps knows it.