Stalemate: any position or situation in which no action can be taken or progress made; deadlock. Yep, that sounds about right doesn't it? Saturday night in Foxboro was just that in the form of a soccer match. Columbus parked the bus and got ten men behind the ball and looked to counter, and the Revolution defense continued to improve, resulting in a 0-0 draw.
These aren't exactly the most exciting matches to break down, especially from a numbers standpoint, and Saturday night proves no different. The stat sheets are very close, and when you simply take a look at the basic stat sheet you'll notice not only where the sides were even, but just how futile the attack was on both sides.
In this week's Revs by Numbers we look past the parity, and try to see which areas are needed to improve for this club to earn better results. After the jump, it's stat-geek time!
BREAKING DOWN THE MAIN STAT SHEET
New England Revolution Columbus Crew
Attempts on Goal
Shots on Target
Shots off Target
Open Play Crosses
Duels Won %
Passing Accuracy %
Certainly a lot of stats were either even, or very close to even. What struck me most was the lack of corner kicks and set piece opportunities on both sides. Both sides attempted 17 crosses in open play, nothing a very similar approach and style, and even the offside stat category was relatively low, with only five between the two sides.
Possession was really one of the only "lopsided" statistical categories here, with Columbus having a a 54-46% edge on the night. That stat was particularly surprising considering I felt during the match that New England seemed to carry play for big chunks. But alas, when you've got 10 men behind the ball, you tend to win possession back quite frequently, as shown by the "duels won" category that Columbus had the edge in, 47-39.
Passing numbers weren't as one-sided as you'd think, even though Columbus completed 73 more passes than the Revs during the match, but the accuracy worries me a little, as I'd like to see the Revs up above 70% to limit the loss of possession, especially at home.
Outside of those markers, what see can you say? Shots attempted were nearly equal (give the Revs credit for at least getting 6 on frame), both teams committed about the same amount of fouls, and both sides were cautioned at least once. It was truly a deadlocked affair, one that frustrates both players and fans alike.
TAKING IT A LITTLE DEEPER
THE GOOD: Shalrie Joseph, Lee Nguyen,
Me sounding like a broken record alert: Shalrie Joseph is not only better at CDM, the New England Revolution as a whole, are better when Shalrie is at CDM. Solid effort from the captain on Saturday night, completing 31 passes, as well as winning six headers in the midfield. Joseph limited his loss of possession in a battle that was fought mostly right in his wheelhouse, the center of midfield. When Shalrie is the midfield general in the defensive third, the match goes through HIM.
Lee Nguyen had a quietly effective night also, nearly matching Joseph with 28 successful passes (he only missed on 7, which is impressive on the flank). Lee also used his speed and won 4 free kicks for New England, and coupled that with a good recovery stat of 7 (recovering poss.). All in all, a quiet night, but effective, and nothing that hurt the team too much.
THE BAD: Benny Feilhaber, Chris Tierney, Stephen McCarthy
Benny took a step back a little this week after looking great against Chicago, and outside of his early missed chance, there wasn't much in a positive light to speak of on the whole. Benny missed almost as many passes as he completed (23-45, 51%) and also the "tackled and possession lost" stat doesn't help either (20). Benny's recovery stat was strong (9) showing his ability to track back and defend, but if this team is going to progress forward, Benny has got to complete better than 51% of his passes.
Chris Tierney. What else can I say about this guy from a statistical standpoint other than "wow". Huge night with 46 (!!) completed passes, but when you add the 27 unsuccessful passes, his percentage was only 63%, which also plays into why his possession lost stat was 28. Nobody fills up the stat sheet more than Chris Tierney, and it's both good and bad. Chris won 10 headers, and most impressively, went 12-14 on his throw ins as well, showing that his distribution is getting better, and the loss of possession is trending downward.
I was a bit surprised to see the poor stat line from McCarthy to be honest. The distribution from Macca needs to be a bit better. Now while I know certain times he's just hoofing the ball upfield which will not help the numbers, he still needs to learn to be a bit more cautious when playing out of the back. With a paltry 54% pass rate (22-41), not only are you putting your team at risk of a bad turnover in a bad spot, but you're limiting the counter attack options as well. Macca continues to be strong in the air, winning 6 headers, as well as clearing the zone another 3 times.
It's all about taking care of the ball. Take care of the ball and it will take care of you. The Revs had too many poor nights in the passing and possession department from too many important cogs in the machine. If Benny can turn it up a little, and the distribution from the back can continue to trend positively, you'll see better chances created.
New England is certainly a better defensive side than they were at the tart of the season, and with the back four starting to come together, it's now time for the attack-minded players to step their game up. While the Revs still sit in the middle of the pack in scoring, a team with this much talent in the midfield should be able to create more chances. With Clyde Simms set to return soon, look for the Revs to improve their offensive output against a weaker opponent like Toronto FC.