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Revs Players Growing "More Comfortable" With New Tactical System
Peay: “I think the players are more comfortable now than they were last week, and I think that will continue to build as they continue to work through some of the nuances of what we’re trying."
Last weekend the New England Revolution introduced a new tactical wrinkle: the inverted left back.
As one can imagine, it will take time for the players to fully familiarize themselves with the new approach, though they’re getting more comfortable with it with each passing training session.
Matt Polster played the position in the Revs’ 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire last Saturday. The veteran started on the left side of defense but moved centrally when his team had possession.
“Part of that role is for [Polster] to be in a position where he is most comfortable,” interim head coach Clint Peay explained. “It allows us to have others on the field as well be successful.”
Polster has largely functioned as a defensive midfielder during his time with the Revolution, though he’s made a couple of recent appearances at right back.
Playing as an inverted left back is new for Polster, but he’s willing to do it if it helps his team win.
“I'm willing to do whatever is asked,” Polster said. “Obviously, I feel like my most influential position is midfield where I can control most of the game, how we're playing, and the speed of it. But I'll do whatever the team needs. First and foremost, like I said, I only want to win, so whatever that takes, I'm willing to do.”
While the system is new to Revs players, Peay has used something similar while with the second team. He explained, “The idea is that we’re trying to get across connectivity with our group, numbers centrally, and guys in wide areas to stretch opponents.”
By putting an extra body in the midfield, the Revs are able to keep possession higher up the field. It also allows them to collapse quickly when their opponent wins the ball.
Mark-Anthony Kaye, who played as a defensive midfielder last weekend, likes the idea of the system.
“I think that for anyone who’s like-minded, like me, who wants to play attacking football and wants to have possession of the ball would be exciting at seeing this formation set out,” Kaye said.
Of course, it takes time to institute a style like this. Kaye said that “communication is important” and that everyone needs to be “really dialed into transitions.”
Peay believes that the players continue to get acquainted with the new method. The next opportunity for them to put the tactic to the test is on Saturday when they host Charlotte FC.
“I think the players are more comfortable now than they were last week, and I think that will continue to build as they continue to work through some of the nuances of what we’re trying,” Peay said.