It would have been fun to play spoiler in this one, especially because it's D.C. United. But, alas, I guess it wasn't meant to be at RFK Stadium this year. Nevertheless, I don't feel too upset after this one because I think the Revs did put in a pretty good shift on the whole. However, there were of course some pretty costly mistakes that ultimately did us in.
Let's start with Kevin Alston. Okay, so, yeah, maybe we need to start thinking about keeping him at left-back on a more permanent basis. I mean, really, where did this sudden run of form come from? And furthermore, if he is such an effective left-back, then why have we been playing him on the right side for so long? In fact, if you think about last year, Steve Nicol was basically playing Kevin Alston and Darrius Barnes each on the opposite side of their college full-back positions.
But, this is not Nicol's Revolution anymore, it's Jay Heaps'. And it may have taken him all season, but Heaps has maybe found the full-back pairing that works best for us. Not only was Alston confident and dangerous, but on the right-side of the pitch, Florian Lechner had arguably one of his best games of the season. The 31-year old German veteran looked like just that, a veteran--someone who knew his role and knew what he needed to do to help his team stay in the game.
With a great defensive outing along with some key crosses in the attacking third and some flashes of speed on counterattacks, Lechner may have just given Jay Heaps and company a reason to keep him around for a while. Lechner even mentioned in the half-time interview with Brad Feldman and Jeff Causey that he was injured for a while and hasn't felt his full self for the past couple months. It almost seems like maybe we are seeing the 100% Flo Lechner now. And I don't know about you, but I like what I see.
Also on the right side linking up well with Lechner all night was Kelyn Rowe, who was a truly dynamic player on Saturday. Rowe made his presence known with some physical play and great runs into the box, much like we were accustomed to seeing from him in college and in Revs pre-season. I'm not sure why Kelyn is just showing up now here at the end of the season, but he looks damn good, and I look forward to seeing more of the same out of him.
The rest of the midfield, however, seemed a bit out of sync. Ryan Guy in particular had somewhat of an off night. In fact, he mostly had an average game, but given that he has been so involved in games lately, a quiet game from the Guam international seemed to have a big effect on the overall midfield production.
And as for Clyde Simms, well, I just want to know what happened to the productive, pass-happy pendulum that we had come to know and love in the beginning of the season. His stats don't show any glaring errors or anything like that, but they do tend to illustrate a lack of involvement. It seems like Simms' role in games has become less crucial and more complimentary, and I'm not sure that's what we want to be seeing. His urgency on the ball was once the engine that powered this new, Heaps-ian Revolution squad. But maybe that urgency is gone now along with the playoffs.
I will say, however, that Juan Toja is arguably the one brightest take-away from this match. Toja inserted himself into the game immediately and started pulling strings, making things happen. Toja looked poised and even close to full fitness (from my un-trained eye). If what we saw from him was just the tip of the iceberg, then I think we have a lot to look forward to from this guy. And I'll say the same for Dimitry Imbongo, as well. He put in another good shift on Saturday and with a full pre-season under his belt, this guy just may have big things in store for this club next season.
In the end, the Revolution just didn't seem to have enough in them to snatch a win from D.C. But, hey, at least they fought hard to the end, which is an element of this new, revitalized Revs team that has been perhaps the most consistent in this 2012 season. Maybe next on the docket should be getting some other players some playing time here at the tail-end of the season. I, for one, would really like to see Tyler Polak and Alec Purdie for a full 90 minutes. Either way, with the playoffs now officially out of reach, it's time to start focusing on 2013--for both the Revs and the fans. I mean, what else can we do?