Revs Top KC: Pretty as Building a Suburb

Keeping score during the Beckham Challenge (intro/results)kind of turned me on the idea of taking notes during the games I watch. I tried it again during New England’s narrow (and dull) win over the Kansas City Wizards – one of several games that tweaked the meaning of the week’s power rankings. I’ll reproduce those below (and amend them; look for the parentheses), afer this brief interruption.

I finally figured out why, which has no real business working, um, works pretty well. Sure, there’s that teeny-tiny little screen, but what appears in that space approximates the visual scale of what one sees live – e.g. the players’ apparent size roughly matches their scale from fairly decent seats at a live game. In other words, so long as the feed works – i.e. absent any hiccups – it’s a decent, if circumscribed view of the action. So…way to go there.

Now, to the game…the discussion of which begins with what came to me around the 88th minute.

I like KC, but think they’re missing something. They seem kind of soft and small – so I guess it’s “steel” or balls they’re missing. Against that, New England has to be hard to play; so physical and big. KC plays this pretty version of the game (looking for quick combinations, playing up the middle, generally “keeping it positive,” etc.) as if they didn’t share the league with assholes like the Revs. They are, of course, and that’s why they lost – and not just last night. What happened out there shows the distinction between losing a game and getting beat. New England just kind of muscles around the field, knocking people down, going in for every 50/50. It’s not dirty (at least not always), but it’s hard as hell. So, narrow as the loss is, you know the players have aggravating knocks and bruises, all of them reminders of the loss.

In a related note, this gets at why I struggle to be a New England fan (and still I am; I cheered for the goal…pity my soul). Assholes are great when they’re losers – lovable, scrappy underdogs and all that. But they really suck when they’re on the cusp of being winners. It means asshole-ism wins.

Moving on, now, to the actual as-they-happened game notes: – New England looks to be pressing high upfield.- Adam Cristman (who had just plowed over Jimmy Conrad near the corner flag) must be one of the biggest motherfuckers in MLS.

– 15th min.: There’s this human wall on the top of the New England penalty area that KC can’t get through; maybe it’s because they run right at it (again…and again…and again).

– Big problem with the NE attack: it’s rare that the proverbial “ball-over-the-t0p” works, at lesat high up the field; they’re a fairly slow team – quick in the right places, but slow overall. Wait: that’s why Khano Smith is so important to them; he is their speed, that potential to break a run from midfield.

– Cristman was a very good pick (sorry: over-enthused here; revise that to read he could be a very good pick). He’s got the physical tools and the mental capacity to be McBride-esque.

– KC sounds good; good loud crowd (for such a cavernous venue); did they mic ’em? (i.e., did the broadcast crew plant a microphone right in front of the KC supporters’ section? If so, what would happen if someone farted too close to it?)

– The game balances KC’s penchant for playing up the middle versus NE’s flank attack; which is winning? As of the 35th minute, New England’s approach.

– Nick Garcia mid-game looks like Al Pacino’s stunt-double after a fist-fight in the rain.

– Arnaud: a good, crafty player, kind of an upgrade over the MLS average.

– With New England it’s really “get it into the mixer” and not a lot more. Sometimes that ball goes to a run, but, more often, it’s whacked into a scrum.

– KC’s attack, very disjointed, individualist (e.g. guys taking on NE defenders too often, without much reference to one another); lacking in cohesion.

– 42nd minute: Actually, both teams’ attacks are fizzling.

– Eloy Colombano looks ridiculous, kind of how Kristine Lilly would look as a man.

– Love ’em or hate ’em (I hate ’em), football lines do make calling offside easier.

– 49th: I don’t like Wells Thompson; athletically, he works, but judgment isn’t there, or it doesn’t match his skill-set. Put another way, the Revs are missing Ralston tonight.

– A better take on the Revs’ offense: get the ball as far down the flank as you can, then cross – to someone making a run in the best case; repeat. Again and again.

– Does Jeff Larentowicz’s free-kick strategy really amount to kicking the holy shit out of the ball and seeing what happens? That’s an apt metaphor for New England as a team. It’s about as inspiring as watching a suburb being built.

– Truth is, I pretty much zoned out from the 50th to the 61st minute. It’s been pretty dull, characterized by the absence of threatening situations.

– A post-substitution sideline interview reveals that Jose Burciaga Jr. is a born motivational speaker; very positive. Probably makes him good captain material.

– 67th minute: good, bold shot by Colombano. Whatever he looks like, he shows promise.

– 68th minute: best chance of the game; Marinelli done good with cross to the far post (created a goal-mouth scramble).

– I want Khano Smith to grow an afro. Not enough afros in MLS. I want Wells Thompson to get a haircut. (See what I mean about the quality of this game? Suddenly, the ESPN crews’ many, many haircut dialogs make sense).

– Bad offside call (Colombano found acres of space on the far side of the field; looked very threatening, but…): I like what I’m seeing from Colombano and hereby retract the Kristine Lilly comparison, which degrades both players.

– 72nd minute: GOAL! A good one, too. New England sharply exploits a break down in KC’s defense. This kind of goal epitomizes the problems with KC’s defense. Khano Smith sets up Taylor Twellman (almost invisible to this point) for the goal.

– In Wells’ defense, he’s not a liability; small upside so far, though.

– Shalrie Joseph is a giant; he’s like two players out there.

– Larentowicz isn’t small either (you can see how I built to my conclusions about New England’s physicality).

– Getting back to New England’s attack, they didn’t threaten down the right all night; it has all been Khano Smith. That underlines the point about Thompson.

– KC manages a nice, late flurry. New England stands ’em up well enough, though.

– Notice I haven’t mentioned Eddie Johnson in all of this. That says something.

One Response

  1. […] pointed me to a different theory: After the second loss, I wrote a post alleging that KC lacked “steel” or balls. Because a physical team like the Revs could bully them in the midfield, the Wizards’ forward […]

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