Some initial thoughts on the Revs’ win 2-0 road win in Houston tonight. Overall, a very solid road performance tonight. A few things specifically stood out to me.
First, the fitness level was impressive.
Theres something to having that ex-Spurs fitness coach here. The pace of the passing, the frequent switches and the speed of thought is significantly improved. That type of game intelligence simply wasn’t there last year, which is a reflection on the assembled talent even more than the coaching. Heaps probably got as much as he could out of mediocre talent. It tells me the problem was with the coach’s talent evaluation skills (or lack thereof), not the GM.
Revs meet the eye test
Despite what the stats may say, this is a good example of the eye test. The revs may not have the possession, mainly because they moved so quickly, they may even have been outshot, but watching this team, there’s no question they are buying into Friedel’s tactics.
Friedel is bringing out the best
The revs are significantly more talented than in 2017. Not just the new guys coming in but also the existing guys are playing better. I’ve been critical of Farrell for a long time but tonight he had a monster game. Caldwell controlled tempo beautifully. Zahibo protected the back four and was opportunistic and always looking to spring an attacker, which is exciting to say the least. Penilla and Caicedo are both exciting young players and the creative wingers we’ve lacked for a long, long time.
Agudelo didn’t get on the scoresheet but worked hard. Even Matt Turner in goal, coming up with that HUGE 1v1 stop.
Steady at the back – mostly
The defense was steady and calm under pressure the vast majority of this game.S Sure, the opening minutes were anxious and Houston botched a few clear chances, but on the whole the back 4 played well as a unit tonight against a very potent offense that put 4 away on Atlanta.
Learning from mistakes against NYC
Lastly, the team learned and figure out how to see out a result, on the road no less. They learned from their mistakes last week and are improving week by week. Posession when it made sense, pushing the pace the rest of the time. That tactical flexibility is huge and hopefully a sign of what’s to come, especially as they get used to playing together more over time.
Onward and upward
Really enjoying this young season and feeling hopeful for the first time in awhile. Looking forward to Montreal on Friday night.