Since Jay Heaps took over as the New England Revolution’s head coach I have been trying to figure out his preferred system of play.
At times Heaps and the Revolution have shown examples of Tika-Taka as well as the more direct long-ball approach.
But after watching the Revs pick up their fifth shutout of the season in a 0-0 draw with the Portland Timbers on Thursday night at Jeld-Wen Field I finally saw Heaps preferred style of play; Catenaccio
Catenaccio is an Italian style of play with a strong emphasis on defence. In Italian, catenaccio means “door-bolt”, which implies a highly organized and effective backline defence focused on nullifying opponents’ attacks and preventing goal-scoring opportunities.
Italian teams in the late 1970s and early 1980s dominated Europe with this style of play. Strong defensively, but deadly on the counter-attack. New England is not deadly on the counter-attack but they are getting better.
Portland dominated the game last night. They had a Barcelona like 67.4% -32.6% possession advantage and managed nine shots on target. But they could not find a way past Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth who made a career-high nine saves in picking up the shutout.
What will please Heaps when he looks at the game videi is that even with less than 33% possession, New England still managed 12 attempts on goal and 7 corner kicks. Not a bad return on the little possession they had. And they could easily have snatched all three points if it had not been for a really good save by Ricketts in the 84th minute to deny Saer Sene whose shot seemed destined for the lower right corner.
For the Revs (2-3-3, 9 pts.), it was their second consecutive clean sheet on the heels of last weekend’s 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union. The Timbers (3-1-5, 14 pts.), meanwhile, extended their club-record unbeaten run to seven games (3-0-4) despite being shut out for the first time this season.
The Revs will now return to Foxborough for a pair of home games next week, beginning on Wednesday, May 8, when they’ll host Real Salt Lake at Gillette Stadium.