Don't talk to me today. Yeah, I'm talking to you, co-worker. And you, motorist, don't get in my way when I'm riding my bike to or from the office. Hey, cat, quit your meowing. That's right, just everyone leave me alone today. I'm MAD-just plain old mad. Why? Well, because of a soccer game, of course.
If you follow me on twitter, I'm sure you could sense my anger last night while watching the Revs' 4-2 defeat to the Montreal Impact. And I know that I wasn't alone in my disgust, nor in my venting via social media. In fact, I was so mad that I turned the game off after the Impact's 4th goal. I NEVER turn the game off. Last night was just too much, though. Did I think we would win against the Eastern Conference leading Impact? No. But, did I think we stood a chance? Hell yeah. Which leaves me just seething after seeing last night's match unfold.
Obviously I'm mad at referee Sorin Stoica, because what soccer rant would be complete without a complaint about the referee. But, really, what referee gives a straight red in the 5th minute, especially on a foul that was hardly even flagrant or even all that dangerous? And then after Jose Goncalves wins a ball in the box against Felipe, another PK? It's just not good refereeing. I'll leave my colleague Jake to elaborate on the man in the middle, but just know that I take issue with it as much as the next guy.
Oh, but I'm just not mad at that. I'm mad at veterans like Matt Reis and Jose Goncalves for even allowing the Revolution to get into the situation(s) that they were in last night. Reis' play on Marco Di Vaio was sloppy, and it cost us almost everything. I do believe that Goncalves won the ball in the 32nd minute (maybe you'll disagree), but there may have been a smarter approach to the play, considering the Revs' luck up to that point (and, indeed, all night).
I'm mad that Andrew Farrell didn't score in the 37th minute, even though I admit that it was a tough, tight angle. I'm mad that New England didn't make more of their dead-ball opportunities. I'm mad that Juan Toja was subbed into the game (or even that he's making the game-day 18 at all). I mean, really, Toja is perhaps the slowest player on our roster, both physically and mentally, and I'm surprised that Heaps continues to put him into difficult game situations instead of someone like Ryan Guy, who has a much grittier work rate, or a forward with pace like Charlie Davies. It just doesn't make sense to me.
I'm mad that we don't have a striker like Marco Di Vaio. (But I am back on the Dimitry Imbongo bandwagon, however.)
I'm mad that A.J. Soares lost track of Marco Di Vaio on two particularly costly occasions, which of course resulted in two goals from the Italian. I've liked Soares in the past few matches, but I think he just lost his spot to Stephen McCarthy again. In my eyes, Soares is great when matched up against MLS's more physical forwards like Conor Casey, Will Bruin, or Steven Lenhart. But for tricky, more agile forwards like Di Vaio, McCarthy is my pick. His awareness and aerial presence are both at a bit of a higher level than Soares', and we could have used those characteristics to stave off the onslaught of over-the-top balls that Montreal's midfield continued to feed to Di Vaio all night.
I don't want to criticize Soares too much, however. After all, if the Revs weren't playing down a man for almost the entire game then maybe both he and Goncalves could have had Di Vaio on their respective radars instead of just A.J. However you slice it, Matt Reis put the Revs in an unfortunate hole right out of the gate, and although New England clawed back for the entire 90 minutes and gave their very best to get back in the game, their efforts were no match for a team like Montreal with a man advantage. It's really that simple, and boy does it make me mad to think about.
Okay, so now you know some of the reasons why I'm just plum mad today.
All if that said, congratulations to Diego Fagundez for yet another goal on the year. He is having a full-fledged breakout season, and although he disappears from games sometimes, he's been a difference maker all year, something we desperately needed him to become. He may just win the Revolution team MVP this year, but I think there's another breakout youngster who arguably deserves the plaudits much more: Kelyn Rowe.
Rowe has been driving this New England midfield all season and has proven to be the most important cog to the Revolution attack, at least to me. Really, though, this kid is on fire, and has been for a while now. Not only does he single-handedly create opportunities out of practically nothing AND score golazos from 20-30 yards out, but he also tracks back on defense for the full 90 minutes and provides a physical presence in the middle of the pitch, too.
Speaking of physicality in the midfield...
Unpopular opinion alert: I'm under-impressed by Scott Caldwell lately. To me, his lack of toughness is an issue. Last night I saw Patrice Bernier bump him off of a number of balls in the midfield, and ensuing attackers like Di Vaio and his supporting cast all shrugged the Akron product off way too easily when Caldwell was tracking back to defend. His passing is top-notch and his positioning and movement are both quite intelligent, but there is a huge element to his game missing, and it needs to be addressed by Jay Heaps one way or the other.
Last night's loss was a tough one, but it was not a damning blow to New England's playoff hopes. Actually, the Revolution are incredibly lucky this week. Despite their loss to Montreal, the Chicago Fire, Philadelphia Union, and Houston Dynamo all lost as well. This leaves the Revs in exactly the same spot (5th in the Eastern Conference, tied on points with Houston) with the Union only 2 points ahead and Chicago 2 points behind. With Chicago and Houston on the docket this month, September just got that much more crucial for New England. 3 points against both sides are a must, and any result against D.C. United will be desirable, too, of course.
That's all I have to say about last night, but boy am I still mad. Lookout.