The New England Revolution dropped their home opener, losing 2-0 to Columbus Crew SC. Here are three thoughts from the game.
- The Revs aren’t creating enough offensively. For the second straight week, the Revolution’s attack looked toothless. Last week they mustered two shots on target and this week they had three. As a whole, the Revs haven’t looked good during the run of play. In his first year as head coach, Brad Friedel relied heavily on the high press to create opportunities. His team would win the ball high before transitioning to goal. This year the Revs want to find ways to break the lines while holding possession. This hasn’t materialized so far, as the team has looked slow and uninspired in the final third. Carles Gil had a nice opportunity in the 73rd minute of Saturday’s game when he connected with Teal Bunbury. The shot didn’t come off as expected but the Revs need more of that if they’re going to find success in 2019.
- I’m not a fan of the halftime substitutions. One under-the-radar hallmark of the Friedel Era has been halftime substitutions. We saw it a lot in 2018 and it looks like we’ll see more of it in 2019. On Saturday, Juan Agudelo and Cristian Penilla only played 45 minutes before making way for Justin Rennicks and Diego Fagundez. Honestly, I don’t get it. Being named as starters is an indicator that Friedel values Agudelo and Penilla over others. Even if they were having sub par performances, isn’t halftime a chance to refocus them? Taking them off at halftime seems far too reactionary. Pulling Penilla is particularly perplexing, as he was the Revolution’s most dangerous weapon in 2018.
- There needs to be a better way to communicate VAR decisions. Brandon Bye was initially shown a red card in the 84th minute before referee Dave Gantar consulted video review. Gantar ultimately opted for a yellow but the communication was clunky. Gantar took out the red card for a second time before signally that he was cancelling that decision. He then pulled out a yellow card. It was the right call, but it could have been communicated much better.