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New England Revolution Feeling Confident Heading Into Playoffs
"Yeah, we looked like ourselves."
The New England Revolution ended their season on a high note as they secured three points against the Philadelphia Union and heading into the first round of the playoffs, they are feeling confident.
New England’s attacking trio of Gustavo Bou, Carles Gil, and Tomas Chancalay were a dangerous attacking trio while DeJuan Jones and Ryan Spaulding were flying up the wings.
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In comparison, the Union looked like a shell of themselves. While the attack of Julian Carranza, Daniel Gazdag, and Mikael Uhre was on display, Andre Blake’s goalkeeping ability left a lot to be desired.
“Definitely,” Jones said when asked if the win was a confidence boost. “I think that's the first time in a long time we've created a ton of chances. Defensively, we were pretty sound, limiting a lot of chances for the opponent as well. So, yeah, we want to continue that heading in the playoffs.”
Still, interim head coach Clint Peay believes the team can still improve.
“Obviously, any time you win you feel better about yourselves,” he said. “It’s a good feeling, but we certainly don’t want to look at the game and think it was all right. We want to still learn from it and see how we can grow so we can be a better team as we advance through the playoffs.
“Overall, [we were] better defensively, clogged up the middle for an area that Philly really likes to attack, and limited the amount of fouls that we gave away in and around the box to give them chances to bring guys for free kicks,” Peay later stated.
Part of the reason for New England’s success seemed to be a tactical change. The Revolution played in a 4-2-3-1 formation that was used a lot during Bruce Arena’s reign at the club. It seems that Peay decided that instead of imprinting his tactical style on the team, he will go back to what they knew.
Matt Polster was paired alongside Tommy McNamara in a much more familiar position at the six and the duo played quite well. Polster completed 49 of his 55 passes while recording 66 touches, six recoveries, two passes into the final third, and two clearances.
The familiarity played a big part in New England’s success according to the midfielder.
“Yeah, we looked like ourselves,” Polster said. “We played in a 4-2-3-1, which we're very familiar with. Our roles were really defined. I thought Tommy [McNamara] did really well coming in for his first 90 in almost a year. So, it felt like us, getting after the ball, pressing, and then defending really narrow and condensed at times. We were able to break and score the second goal that way, so it just felt like more of what we were used to.”
If the Revolution stick to the basics, New England has a chance to make a run in the playoffs. Once you are in the dance, anything can happen and if the Revs get hot, they will be a tough team to beat.