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Three Thoughts about the Revs' Final Week in Florida
The kids looked good!
The New England Revolution capped their three-week stay in Florida with a 2-1 win over Orlando City SC on Saturday night. The game was streamed, allowing us to get a peek at what the team could look like in 2023.
My colleague Sam Minton gave you his three thoughts after the final whistle and here are three more:
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1. The kids are alright
Jack Panayotou, who scored against Inter Miami, provided fans with some fun moments during his 45-minute shift against Orlando, including a picturesque ball to spring Brandon Bye.
Noel Buck also looked good after replacing Panayotou at halftime. The 17-year-old attacker, who almost trained with Tottenham in the off-season, was confident and strong. His best moment was when he boldly shrugged off a defender in the build-up to Orlando’s own goal.
Bruce Arena isn’t necessarily known for playing youngsters, but the Homegrowns have been impressive. They’ll be ready when their numbers are called.
2. The Revs need to figure out their defensive shape
The Revolution conceded a pretty poor goal in the first half. The ball starts with goalkeeper Pedro Gallese and a few passes later it ends up in the back of the net. It’s worth noting that several Revs defenders were caught high up the field.
The Revs like to send numbers forward as they want to win the ball in their opponent’s half. This isn’t necessarily a bad strategy. In fact, Dave Romney and Christian Makoun pushing forward helped create the Revolution’s first goal.
That said, the Revs need to figure out what their defensive shape will be. This takes time, especially since Romney is a new addition to the squad.
By the way, Saturday was the third straight game where Romney partnered with Henry Kessler. The two centerbacks played 90 minutes against Orlando while Andrew Farrell was sidelined with an injury.
3. Saturday’s lineup could be a preview of what we’ll see against Charlotte
The Revs were without a few players against Orlando as Farrell, Latif Blessing, Jozy Altidore, and Tommy McNamara were all dealing with knocks. Nacho Gil is also dealing with an injury, according to Prost’s Caleb Pongratz.
With this in mind, the lineup the Revs went with against Orlando was pretty close to “first choice.”
The first thing I’ll note is that the Revs used a 4-2-3-1 formation instead of the 5-man backline they used in their early preseason games. I’m guessing they’ll use a 4-2-3-1 early on with the possibility of later switching to a 5-3-2 or 4-4-2 in order to get two strikers on the field.
I also imagine that Giacomo Vrioni will start over Bobby Wood next weekend. The Designated Player looked hungry against Orlando, scoring a goal and also forcing an own goal. Vrioni’s ear-to-ear smile after the Revs took the lead tells its own story.
Depending on how players recover, we could see Panayotou slide out wide with Blessing or McNamara playing in the middle. Another option is keeping Panayotou central with McNamara playing wide. Noel Buck is also a candidate to start in the middle or out wide.
Generally, the final preseason game is a hint at how the team will look in the season opener. Last year, there was only one difference between games. Injuries and the absence of Gustavo Bou make it a little more difficult to predict this year.
Bonus Thought: We’re all on the #AnnounceEma train, right? I mean, the guy continues to be dangerous when he’s on the field. I suspect that he'll sign a contract this week.