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Halftime Tactical Switch Helps Revs Defeat Charlotte FC
Clint Peay: “We kind of matched speed with speed. I think that helped tremendously.”
A tactical switch at halftime of Saturday’s game helped propel the New England Revolution to a 2-1 victory over Charlotte FC.
Interim head coach Clint Peay rolled out a 4-5-1 for the second straight week with Matt Polster operating as an inverted left back while DeJuan Jones played right back.
Polster and Jones ultimately swapped sides at the break to help neutralize the pace that Charlotte had on their right side.
“I think McKinze Gaines caused us some problems in the first half, so we switched DeJuan and Polster in the second half,” Peay said. “We kind of matched speed with speed. I think that helped tremendously.”
Jones looked good on the left, providing dynamic runs and smart passes. He provided the game-winning assist when he offered a left-footed cross for Dave Romney to head home.
Jones attributed some of his second-half attacking success to the Revs having better spacing and control of the game. He also said there’s familiarity when he’s on the left.
“I can play either side, but I think the team in general is more comfortable seeing me on the left,” Jones said. “So I think the movements, they’re used to me getting forward this way.”
Polster also found success on the right as he contained Justin Meram defensively and offered support offensively.
One bright moment came when the veteran offered a nice cross from the right flank that just missed the foot of Tomas Chancalay.
When asked after the game if he prefers playing left or right back, Polster said, “I feel most comfortable in the middle. But as of right now, I’m left back and right back, so we’ll see.”
Polster’s move to the backline was necessitated by Brandon Bye’s season-ending injury. The 30-year-old is helping out and “trying to help the team win.”
Of course, Peay’s system allows Polster to come inside when the Revs have possession.
In his second game playing this way, he showed great awareness of when to step into the midfield and when to help the backline.
Regardless of which side Polster plays going forward, expect to see him move higher up to help the team maintain possession.
“Matt can still come inside from the right side,” Peay said. “So left, right, doesn’t matter. Just that idea of adding another number is all we’re looking to do.”