SANDY, UT - MAY 5: Goalie Nick Rimando #18 of Real Salt Lake saves a shot on goal during a game against the New England Revolution during the second half of an MLS soccer game May 5, 2012 at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah. Real Salt Lake beat the New England Revolution 2-1. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)
So, what are the chances that Jay Heaps is having the team practice defending set pieces in training this week? I’d say pretty good. And, while they’re at it, they could probably stand to practice some of their own, as well. Set pieces aside though, the Revs put in a valiant effort Saturday night. What I keep telling myself is that they would have easily left Rio Tinto with 3 points had it not been for the packed 8-day schedule. That’s what I keep telling myself. But, I also believe that they could have won regardless—Coulda woulda shoulda, as they say.
I did not predict that we’d see Blake Brettschnieder have a breakout game. That was quite a surprise I’m sure for everyone. But, really, he put in a hell of a game. Let’s hope it wasn’t a fluke. And what better way to see if it was or not than to let it ride and give him another start. I’d really like to see Blake play up top with either Saer Sene or Jose Moreno. To be perfectly clear, though, I am also still pulling for a Bjorn Runstrom start; just saying. But Brettschnieder certainly deserves some minutes, now that we’ve seen what he can bring to the table. And, if it weren’t for Fredy Montero’s scorcher this week, he’d have goal of the week in the bag.
I’m not going to touch the Fernando Cardenas red card because I think we’re all in agreement that it was an awful call. That’s how it goes sometimes though. I believe that Cardenas has done enough in the past 2 games to warrant some significant playing time moving forward. But, if he does end up sitting the next one out and serving his suspension, then there’s a prime opportunity for someone like Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, or someone else to impress. I think that Cardenas is a great example of how competition for minutes will keep this squad dynamic and give them the edge they need to have a great season.
I didn’t see anything particularly spectacular out of John Lozano, but I didn’t see anything necessarily terrible either. I want to say that A.J. Soares looks more comfortable with Stephen McCarthy, though. I could be off on that, and it could just have been the fatigue of the past 3-game stretch that I was noticing, but there definitely seemed to be a slight communication problem happening out there. Our defense in general looked average Saturday night, but not average in a bad way. My biggest gripe, as mentioned earlier, is set pieces. We’ve just simply got to take those more seriously.
I’d like to see the Revs commit to the 4-5-1, or at least utilize it more often. It seems to allow for a certain flow that I think works really well for this squad, namely that it allows both Benny Feilhaber and Shalrie Joseph to play centrally. If we can keep our shape and work the wings a little better, I think it could be a winning formation. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see just how it develops.
I was upset with the outcome of Saturday’s match initially, but I feel much better about it now. Like a bad hangover, eventually the nausea and headache pass. What you’re left with, just after the dry heaving or the extra 5 hours of sleep, is a moment of clarity. It’s clear to me that this Revolution team is a better team—better than they were the past two seasons, better than their record shows, and better than most give them credit for, including myself sometimes. Keep the faith, friends. Believe in Heaps.