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It was a busy week for the Revolution who capped off a busy week of transfers with a trip to central Florida to take on Orlando City SC.  If you want a recap of the moves that New England made before the transfer deadline closed on Thursday, I wrote a whole big thing on Saturday.

Both the Revs and the Lions were coming into the weekend on something of a downward trend.  New England hadn’t won a game since before Matt Turner left back in June 19th, going 0-2-3 (W-L-T) in their last 5.  Orlando, despite having earned a spot in the US Open Cup Final, had won just 1 of their last 5.  Furthermore they’d struggled at home this season recording 6 losses in 11 tries leading into the weekend.

That poor home form would prove to be beneficial to New England who ran away with a 3-0 victory.  Matt Polster scored in the first half off a well weighted pass from Tommy McNamara.  “TMac” would grab his second assist in the 51st minute as Wilfrid Kaptoum fired home from the top of the box.  Henry Kessler would head home the nail in Orlando’s coffin in the 75th minute, off a corner.

It’s a great result for New England who were missing several attacking options including Gustavo Bou and Dylan Borrero.  Is this win indicative of a team on the upswing?  Or can we should we take the result with a grain of salt, given Orlando’s recent form?

Just Like We All Imagined, Right?

If you’re anything like me, you saw the lineup ahead of the match and though: “Oh, cool.  No goals today!”

With injuries to Bou, Borrero, and apparently Vrioni, New England fielded a more defensive 4-3-2-1 lineup.  The defensive midfield trio of Maciel, Polster, and Kaptoum were very likely sent out with the task of limiting Orlando’s attack, and hoping that Justin Rennicks could find a goal to steal the game.

That was decidedly not what happened. The 4-3-2-1 “Christmas Tree” worked wonders with New England cruising to their most dominant win of the season.  What’s more, all 3 of the Revs goals were scored by more “defensive” players.

After struggling in the heat for the first 15 or so minutes, New England finally started to string some possession together.  This allowed them to work the ball up the wide areas of the pitch which, in turn allowed the defensive midfielders to push up into the attack.

Matt Polster did this multiple times in the early going, making incisive runs into the attack while the ball was being played wide.  His third such run paid dividends.  Kaptoum’s goal was similar, with the exception that the ball was deflected wide before being pumped back centrally by Tommy McNamara.

Round the night out with a goal from Henry Kessler off a corner kick and voila, a game script we all definitely saw coming.

Yeah But Isn’t Orlando Trash?

What?  No!  They’re above the playoff line!  They are in the Open Cup Final!! No!!

Ok, yeah, maybe a little at the moment.

Despite earning a trip to the US Open Cup final, a game they reeeeally ought to win, Orlando has kind of been a mess lately.  They’ve now lost 3 straight and have really struggled to find points at home, where they’ve lost 7 of 12.

To say they played poorly against New England isn’t entirely fair.  There were big stretches of the match where Orlando had all the momentum.

In many ways, New England was pretty lucky to come out of Florida with 3 points.  Orlando won the expected goals battle by a margin of 1.1 to 0.9.  They out possessed the revolution, and spent a ton of time in the attacking half.  They completed nearly double the number of passes in the attacking half that New England did (289 vs 149).  Furthermore, they out-shot the Revs 18 to 11.

On a different day this game could have ended very differently.  Against a different opponent, if New England was going to concede the types of chances they did, it very well may have been a different result.

This is why, while I’m pleased with the result, I still think there’s a lot of work ahead to make it back to the playoffs this year.  That said, you can only play the team in front of you and hopefully this is the bit of luck that the Revs need to motivate them to finish the year strong.

Photo credit: Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
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