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Revolution v. Red Bulls: Three thoughts

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The five-man back line didn’t work, plus two more thoughts.

SOCCER: AUG 17 MLS - New England Revolution at New York Red Bulls Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Revolution grabbed an important road point on Saturday night when they tied the New York Red Bulls 1-1. Here are three thoughts from the game:

  1. The five-man back line didn’t work. I was a bit skeptical when I saw that the Revs were going with a five-man back line for a second consecutive week. The Red Bulls are a high-energy team that likes to press, so I was concerned that the Revolution’s wing backs wouldn’t be able to progress up the field. It turned out to be true, as the Revs found it difficult to get past the halfway line. This resorted in them playing long balls to Gustavo Bou, who couldn’t beat the Red Bulls’ defense on his own. Head coach Bruce Arena changed his formation midway through the first half, which resulted in better soccer.
  2. Carles Gil needs to be the no. 10. To be honest, I’m still trying to figure out the Revs’ best lineup, largely because I’m not sure where Bou fits best. That said, I fully believe that Gil needs to be in the middle. The guy’s defensive contributions are invaluable, as he’s constantly working to get the ball back. Offensively, he’s so good at finding seams. Bou deserves a lot of credit for the goal he scored on Saturday because he expertly bodied his defender before perfectly timing his run. That said, Gil’s pass is also praiseworthy. The perfect endorsement of Gil’s contributions came from Arena during his post-game availability. The coach asked who earned the assist on Bou’s goal. When he learned it was Gil, Arena smirked and said, “As usual.”
  3. It wasn’t a good night for Michael Mancienne. Mancienne played a central role in the goal conceded in the 18th minute by misplaying a long ball. Sure, Edgar Castillo has to do better on the clearance and the Revs’ defensive midfielders should be tracking the late runs, but Manicenne’s effort wasn’t good enough. In fact, the Englishman looked rusty and passive throughout the night.