The New England beat the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 in front of 10,688 fans on a cold and damp afternoon at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.
Revs headed into the San Jose game with only one point on the season, and that came in last weekend’s 0-0 draw with the Montreal Impact.
Heading into the game my three keys from a New England Revolution perspective were:
- How solid will the defense be with Jose Goncalves back in the line-up?
- Revs were very narrow against Montreal. Can they play with more width against San Jose?
- In its first three games New England had not scored, so can they break that streak?
Despite giving up a second half penalty to Chris Wondolowski, New England were once again solid defensively, holding San Jose to only X shots on target all game. The Earthquakes were poor offensively, but there were positive signs that NE are rediscovering their defensive shape that led them to the MLS Cup last season. One reason for that has been the play the last two weeks of Scott Caldwell and Daigo Kobayashi who have dominated both the midfields of Montreal and San Jose the last two weeks.
Last week against Montreal the Revs were incredibly narrow as the image below shows.
This week, it was clear that a large part of the New England game plan revolved around attacking San Jose down the flanks, especially the New England left, where Chris Tierney and Kelyn Rowe caused problems for San Jose all game.
While there is still room for improvement, the spacing between the midfielders was much better against San Jose than it was last week against Montreal.
The two goals was obviously a relief to Heaps and the Revolution, as Kelyn Rowe’s brace was the difference between the two sides. The last two season’s New England have relied on their midfield for their goals. Against San Jose, Charlie Davies made some great runs down the channels, but Juan Agudelo was invisible once again.
If New England is going to win the Eastern Conference this year, they will need more consistent goal scoring from their strikers.
Next up for the Revs is a trip to the Colorado Rapids on April 4th.