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New England Revolution 2 - Orlando City 3: 3 Thoughts
New England continues to drop points
The New England Revolution went down to the Sunshine State and will be returning empty-handed as they suffered a 3-1 loss.
Clint Peay featured a similar lineup to the mid-week matchup against the Crew. Giacomo Vroni was once again the lone striker with Tomas Chancalay, Carles Gil, and Nacho Gil making up the midfield with Noel Buck and Mark-Anthony Kaye serving in defensive roles.
The back line also remained the same except for Omar Gonzalez replacing Andrew Farrell who was missing from the matchday squad. due to a right leg injury according to Jeff Lemieux. Tomas Vaclik also made his first-ever appearance on the bench for New England while Henry Kessler and Ryan Spaulding rejoined the squad as well.
With the loss, New England’s hopes for home-field advantage have taken a hit. With the Eastern Conference growing tighter by the matchday, the Revs will need to end the season on a strong note if they want two home matches in the first round. As a reminder, the top four teams will receive home-field advantage in the first round.
But what do you need to know about Saturday’s loss? Here are three thoughts.
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1 - Matt Polster is not a left back
As much as Clint Peay thinks that Matt Polster can play left back, this simply isn’t the case.
Polster’s inability to step to his opponent opened up the chance to cross the ball into the box and Orlando took advantage with Duncan McGuire heading it home to give the Lions the lead.
To Orlando’s credit, it was a beautiful cross and a quality finish from McGuire but the defending needs to be better. It’s hard to believe that a natural outside back such as DeJuan Jones or Ryan Spaulding would allow for that ball to get into the box.
The struggles for Polster continued as he lost his man on the second goal. It couldn’t be more evident that the veteran midfielder shouldn’t be playing left back.
Peay is committed to this system (which includes playing Polster at left back) but it continues to harm the Revolution. Polster would have a much more positive impact on the game if he was playing in the midfield (even if that means coming off the bench.
2 - Terrible transition
Under Peay, New England has been porous when it comes to defending the counterattack and transition. Just before half, Orlando carved up the Revolution and scored its third goal of the match.
Again, Peay appears to be committed to his changes but they don’t seem to be working. New England is dropping points like Nelson Agholer drops passes and very well could miss out on home-field advantage.
The interim head coach deserves credit as he made changes at halftime as it was clear things weren’t working. Gustavo Bou, Ema Boateng, and Kessler came into the match to start the second half with Nacho Gil, Buck, and Vrioni coming off.
While the change appeared to help New England, it was simply too late. Orlando had already locked up three points and the Revs were battling uphill for a point never mind a win.
3 - Giacomo the ghost
Once again Vrioni had a rough night up top. He struggled to make any impact and was nonexistent in the attack.
In 46 minutes played, Vrioni tallied a measly 11 touches while completing seven of his nine passes. The Designated Player also recorded zero shots while losing two of his three duels.
These performances are simply unacceptable. Especially on the road, the striker has disappeared from matches and is currently in the middle of a scoring drought. It might seem harsh, but bringing him in as a DP appears to be a massive failure.
So it was another rough night for New England and with the club’s continued struggles, it is hard to imagine that changing anytime soon.