The New England Revolution defeated CF Montreal 2-1 on Sunday. Here are three thoughts from the game:
1. Arnor Traustason looked good playing more centrally. The Revs have lined up in a 4-4-2 diamond for the last three games, a formation that requires the midfielders to play narrow. The switch has benefited Traustason, who recorded two goals against Miami and one assist against Montreal. The Iceland international told media after the Miami game, “To be honest, I feel more comfortable [playing centrally] in that kind of formation.” The stats support this as Traustason has ranked highly in terms of touches, tackles, and completed passes.
Traustason's 63 minutes vs. Montreal: One assist, two shots (0 on target), 34 touches (8th), 3 tackles (tied for 1st), 87% passing accuracy (4th), one key pass. #NERevs— Seth (@SethMan31) July 27, 2021
2. Beware of direct balls. The Revs like to send men forward to overwhelm their opponent. If they lose the ball, they look to press in order to force turnovers. This has been a highly effective strategy, but it does leave the backline susceptible to long, direct balls. Revs defenders struggled to put out these fires during the stretch when they were conceding two or more goals per game. Most of the time it came down to individual mistakes because the defender was 1v1 with an attacker. On Sunday, the Revs defenders were much better in these situations. A special nod goes to Andrew Farrell, who stifled Montreal’s attack on a few occasions.
3. I loved the tribute to Paul Mariner. The former Revs assistant coach and commentator was honored with a rock-heavy pregame playlist, a TIFO, and a moment of silence. Steve Ralston, Andy Dorman, Marshall Leonard, and Doug Warren were there to pay their respects to a man loved by so many. I never got to speak to Paul personally, but I felt like I got to know him while he was providing so many colorful moments in the booth with Brad Feldman. I always loved when he said a player was “enjoying his football,” which is a phrase I now use in my own life. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to listen to the tributes from Revs Confidential, Revolution Recap, and The Far Post Podcast.