Quick Thoughts about the Game:
1) One of the turning points of the game when New England opened up the scoring. Glenn Davis outlined the events pretty well on his Facebook page Soccer Matters.
Essentially Eric Alexander played a questionable pass to Darwin Cerén who decided to take the ball through defenders. Cerén losses possession and the Dynamo are forced to defend in an unfavorable 4v1 situation. This highlights a problem with the Dynamo system that keeps players higher up and how vulnerable we are to teams that love to counter attack like New England. The situation was made worse since it was coming off a set piece opportunity with players that would normally be behind the ball were in front of it. The set piece was played short (ugh) and Alexander decided to drop the ball back even further to Cerén. An unfortunate giveaway from a player that usually passes very well led to a textbook counter attack from the Revs.
2) Another game defining moment of this game was DaMarcus Beasley’s red card for his denial of an obvious goal scoring opportunity on Cristian Penilla. Here’s a video of the foul:
To me, it’s probably a red card, although I’d say an incredibly soft red card. Penilla feels the contact and either trips up in his run or feels the contact and goes down easily. That being said, this is another example of how exposed we were against New England. A poor decision by Alejandro Fuenmayor to slide into a pass left his teammates out to dry and gave the Revs numbers and space up the field. The Revs did to us what we’re so good at and that’s press and counter quickly. We should have known to play smart with our passes, to make sure our defenders know when to stay back, and be mindful of the counter with positioning. We didn’t and New England made us pay for it.
3) The real killer for us in this game was our own missed chances on goal. This team was made to absorb some goals and still come out on top. Even when we were down a man we were creating tap in opportunities, but we couldn’t put them in the net. Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto both had 1v1 chances with Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner, Elis also missed a header right in front of the goal, and Memo Rodriguez used the bottom of his cleats to stab at a fantastic pass from Mac Steeves while in front of goal, but instead of finding the net it flew over the top. These were the easy chances too, the Dynamo overall outshot New England15 to 12 (both with 6 on target) and the Dynamo even outshot New England by one in the second half while playing down a man. We can afford to take a goal or two, but we’ve got to get it done on the other end and we just couldn’t.
4) Wilmer Cabrera did not make very good tactical adjustments early, but I think he got it right later. After going down a goal and a man, the two defensive midfielders played deeper creating a huge gap between the forwards and everyone else. Tomás Martínez had to retreat to Eric Alexander’s usual territory to receive the ball with his back to the other forwards. This is not where you want your number 10 to be to connect the midfield to the forwards. During this spell in the first half the Dynamo really struggled to keep possession and create any meaningful chances because they simply couldn’t get the ball up the field. In the second half, I think Wilmer got it right as we spread the field a little bit better. We were helped by New England sitting a little deeper on their 1-0 lead with a man advantage and we began to fire off chance after chance for an equalizer. Unfortunately, Adolfo Machado got caught briefly flat footed while defending Cristian Penilla who would use that space to make it 2-0.
5) Our depth is to be tested especially along the back. With so many of our defenders injured we may see players like Andrew Wenger in the left back role again. I don’t think he played poorly in that position by any means either, but it’s not his traditional spot. Alejandro Fuenmayor also didn’t have a particularly good game so do we move Machado back to CB and play Kevin Garcia who has not looked in his last two games? Thankfully the Dynamo have a little bit more time to heal with the next game coming April 14th.