Just days after bowing out of the US Open Cup at the hands of NYCFC, the Revolution were back in action, taking on rivals Philadelphia Union.  Most of the starters got the night off on Wednesday against New York, but were back in full force on the weekend.  Well, nearly full force.  Adam Buksa was released early to join Poland for international duty… and definitely only that!

I’ll have more on that in the coming weeks, but for now let’s focus on the game at hand.  Here are a few quick thoughts after the 1-1 draw.

There was a lot to like

On any other day, this game could have easily been a big home win for the Revolution.  A quick look at the stats indicates that the Revs dominated this game, offensively and defensively.  New England had 60% possession.  More than that, they turned that possession into shots.  22 of them to be precise.   They also showed some resolve on defense, allowing Philadelphia only 5 shots on the evening.

From this shot map, it becomes clear just how much the Revs were able to dominate the ball and create chances from all over the field.  The expected goals were in favor of the Revs 3.0-0.7.  I’m going to make the assumption that that xG value is measured “pre-shot” since only 4 of New England’s 22 shots made it on target.  A lot of that falls on Gustavo Bou, who while finding himself in great positions, still showed some rust after returning from injury.  He was responsible for 1.23 expected goals all by himself.  Bou would go on to score the Rev’s only goal in the 75th minute to give the home side a well deserved lead.  A lead that the Revolution would hold onto, and nothing catastrophic ha… what’s that? AGAIN?!?!

Another Costly Mistake

It’s getting hard, at this point, to not turn these weekly articles into Omar Gonzalez hit-pieces.  To say that Gonzalez had a bad game wouldn’t exactly be fair.  He was a large part of how the Revolution were able to limit Philadelphia’s opportunities.  He contributed 7 clearances, had a pair of recoveries, and generally helped the defense play through Philly’s pressure.

The center-back also contributed an assist, just not to the team he plays for.

Jokes aside, this is a poor clearance from Gonzalez.  The Revs spent much of the evening trying to play possession soccer out of the back, so I can understand why he doesn’t just kick the ball out for a throw.  That said, he has 3 available options for a pass, as well as the option to turn toward the sideline and dribble out of danger.  He opts for a clearance, which should work, but he doesn’t get enough of the ball and it falls directly to Uhre for the goal.

I won’t need to tell Revs fans that this is a worrying trend.  It’s not really fair to pin defensive errors on just one player but, by my count, a Gonzalez mistake has lead directly to a goal in 5 matches this season.  He has appeared in 8 matches.  I had hoped Arena would be able to get the best of him, but it’s been clear for a while now, that’s not happening.

Traustason Passes the Eye Test

I’ve been keeping an eye on midfielder Arnór Traustason ever since his solid outing in Open Cup play against Cincinnati.  Traustason is a player that came into the team with high expectations, and mostly failed to meet those expectations last season.  He didn’t quite connect with his teammates in the early going, before a pair of red-card suspensions essentially left him at the back of Bruce Arena’s pecking order.  We know that it often takes players a while to get integrated within MLS, especially for players coming from another country.  Those players need to make adjustments, not just to their play style to match the league, but often to their everyday lives to learn what it is to live in a new culture.  That’s why it sometimes can take 6-12 months or more for international players to play up to their potential.

It’s not quite showing up on the score sheet yet, but Traustason certainly looked the part on Saturday.

Arnor played with urgency against Philadelphia, covering a lot of space and combining with his teammates up the right flank.  He was constantly running off the ball, creating space for the likes of Dejuan Jones, as well as being a constant option for a pass or shot.   He took 3 shots in his 63 minutes and he looked dangerous throughout.  Even though it came to nothing, he set Tommy McNamara up with a shot that really should be on target, as seen in the clip above.

The addition of Dylan Borrero to the attack makes the fight for minutes all the more important for Traustason.  If he continues to put in performances like this one, it may be hard to keep him out of the lineup.

Photo Credit: Ira L. Black – Corbis/Getty Images
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