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Revolution v. LAFC: Three tactical thoughts

LAFC dominated the flanks and two more thoughts.

SOCCER: AUG 03 MLS - LAFC at New England Revolution Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Revolution’s 11-game unbeaten streak came to an end on Saturday when they were downed 2-0 by Los Angeles FC. Here are three thoughts from the game:

  1. LAFC got their first goal by exploiting the wide areas. Going into this game, I was curious to see how the Revs would deal with LAFC’s attacking talent. In recent weeks, the Revolution have played with a narrow midfield on the right side, asking Brandon Bye to get forward and provide width. The sophomore right back had been fine in this role but he hadn’t faced a talent like Diego Rossi. It took the Uruguayan eight minutes to get in behind and score the game’s opening goal. Rossi—and Carlos Vela on the right—continued to find success out wide throughout the night. Later, outside backs Steven Beitashour and Jordan Harvey were also able to get into the attacking third. Harvey ultimately assisted on LA’s second goal.
  2. The Revs couldn’t get their break. There was a similar attacking pattern that the Revs used throughout the first half. A striker would check back before running towards the LAFC goal in search of a ball over the top. The movement was used by both Teal Bunbury and Gustavo Bou, though it was sometimes Bunbury that would check to create space for Bou. The play never worked as the entry pass was either picked out by a defender or gobbled up by the keeper. A similar pattern was seen in the second half as Bunbury and Bou stayed high to try to score on a fast break. There were some good moments created with this strategy, including one in the 50th minute that got Bunbury a shot that wasn’t on frame. Still, it never paid off the way the Revs wanted it to.
  3. Cristian Penilla didn’t have a good game. As a whole, the Revolution attack was pretty lackluster but I’m going to talk about Penilla because he was sloppy while playing in his defensive third. The speedy left winger was often asked to track back, which simply isn’t his specialty. Penilla was in the middle when he committed a bad giveaway that would’ve led to a goal if not for Andrew Farrell’s goal line stop. Later, Penilla was seen failing to track Beitashour’s outside run. This loss doesn’t lie on Penilla as the Revs had a lot of issues. That said, Penilla had many missed passes and poor defensive efforts, which is too bad given his recent run of form.