Although that was one of the least interesting games of soccer I've ever watched, I will say that I'm proud that the Revolution were able to go toe-to-toe with Sporting Kansas City and grind out a point. After all, this was a team that pushed us around (arguably) more than any other team last year .
"Just as a team, Kansas City really presses hard in the midfield right when it gets into the center position, defensively especially," Scott Caldwell said post-game. "They really press hard and try to pinch the ball and attack from there. They do a pretty good job of it."
He went on to say, "We always try to stick to it [game plan] so we have to deal with in-game you have to change things based on what the other team is throwing at you. I think we did a good job tonight overall."
And I have to agree with the rookie, who notched his second consecutive start on Saturday afternoon. The Revs not only came out with a game plan, but were able to adjust that game plan during the match (due to not only Sporting's own game plan but of course the unpredictable windy conditions) and successfully secure a result by the final whistle.
For me, the defense was certainly noteworthy. Jose Goncalves and A.J. Soares showed once again that they are one of the more dynamic and stalwart in Major League Soccer right now. Through three games, they have allowed only a single goal. The conditions forced them both to take the safe route more often than not, booting the ball out of the defensive third and often past the midfield. So, their "distribution" took a hit, but in the end Kansas City was kept off the scoreboard. This was what the game plan had become.
"We tried to play as much as we could," said Matt Reis, who secured his second clean sheet in as many games, "but we also were trying to not take any chances and make sure we were solid. The best thing is that we fought for the whole 90 minutes."
And of course Andrew Farrell, despite his occasional rookie mistakes, has been a bright spot along the backline as well. The way this kid hustles out on the pitch, whether on defense or on the attack, is really impressive and something that the Revs has certainly lacked in past seasons. He is very dangerous when given space and clearly likes to charge up the field with the ball at his feet if given the opportunity. As his vision and reflexes get sharper, Farrell is surely going to make his case for rookie of the year come October.
I also liked Chad Barrett as the Revs' primary striker. It was a difficult game for him to really showcase what he can do (seriously, you try running down long-balls for 60 minutes), but as an energetic, roaming threat in the attacking third applying constant pressure on Aurelien Collin and Ike Opara, Barrett has me cautiously optimistic and hopeful for another start.
The toughest pill to swallow, however, is Revolution stat-line that shows a mere 3 attempts on goal all game (Sporting had 13) with none of them on target (Sporting had 5). Yet when you compare those numbers with the fact that the Revs maintained 52% of possession, it almost seems like something might have been missing.
And that something was creativity in the midfield. Between Juan Toja, Lee Nguyen, and Kelyn Rowe, we should really be seeing more than an average of one chance every 30 minutes. If New England has their sights set on the playoffs this year, then they simply cannot afford to play as punchless as they have the last two weeks. Until the midfield can start clicking, Revs fans shouldn't expect much in terms of attractive, attacking soccer nor any significant results either.
Besides the wind, the only other talking point from this match was of course the return of Benny Feilhaber to Gillette Stadium. Benny put in a 90-minute shift but yielded little action for Kansas City apart from a shot on frame in the first half and a dive in the box in the second half that earned him a yellow card.
This weekend the Revs will take on a high-flying FC Dallas side who currently sit atop the Western Conference after their win this weekend against Real Salt Lake. The weather forecast for Saturday in Foxboro is mostly cloudy with a high of 49 and, most importantly, wind at only 6 mph.