Oct 27, 2007

Scoreless Stalemate At The Swamp, As Revs Frustrate Red Bulls

It was clear what Steve Nicol's game plan was tonight: sit back, let Bruce Arena's team control the tempo, take the counters if they come but more importantly keep the dangerous Red Bull attackers out of the Revs 18 yard box. Mission accomplished. Despite dominating the run of play, the Red Bulls had few legitimate goal chances outside of the game's first 20 minutes. They truly impressed me during that opening period, and I'm sure an early goal would have changed everything. Unfortunately, there just wasn't enough from the attacking midfield. How many times this season have I seen Dane Richards dribble down the flank to lose the ball into touch or turn it over? Too many to count. Altidore looked lost in left midfield. Arena said after the game that it was Jozy's preference to play there and that he was playing as a forward most of the time anyway. Well, great, but who was supposed to get him the ball? Altidore's presence was sorely needed in the Revs penalty box as well. Arena also said he was very pleased with the way the defense played. Again fine, except they weren't really tested. And yet, this team can play with New England. They showed that. I'm just not sure what they need to do to find the net. Obviously, Angel and Doe are going to need to do more. Are they up to the task? We'll have to wait and see.

Interestingly enough, the Revs-Red Bulls was the only series where the lower-seeded team does not have a 1-0 lead from the first leg. We saw Chicago beat D.C. by that score Thursday night and tonight Kansas City and Dallas followed suit. But remember, this is not UEFA. No away goal rule here, which means the visiting team had even less reason to attack than they normally would. I do think Houston and Chivas will be able to win at home to advance, but the case with D.C. is a lot less clear. I originally favored D.C. to win it all, but Chicago is playing well now, and more importantly, Blanco is getting all the calls. If the Fire win that series, and the Red Bulls somehow win at Foxboro next weekend, the Swamp would get to host another playoff game (the one game conference final). More likely though, at this time next week we'll be talking about the offseason.

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