Revolution cite midweek work in win
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Revolution got back to work on the training field on Tuesday with the determination to build on last Saturday's emphatic 4-0 win against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Joe Franchino took full part in practice to boost a squad that suffered another injury blow last weekend when Daniel Hernandez limped off with an ankle injury, the severity of which has yet to be diagnosed.
The Revolution swept the season series against the Galaxy for the first time in history with a display that had its foundations laid, according to assistant coach Paul Mariner, in what the squad did last week on the practice field in the buildup to the game.
"We have a great bunch of guys. They are together and they work hard for each other. It was certainly their attitude and the way they approached it, and I think that the players and (Steve Nicol and I) got things right in the week going into the match," said Mariner.
"(Steve and I) just thought we needed to sharpen up the training a little bit. We shortened the size of the practice field a little bit and played more one and two-touch football to try and get everybody half a step quicker with their movement and with their thought process."
From the moment that Taylor Twellman opened the scoring in the fifth minute, it was clear that the training ground tweaks would pay off, as the Revolution swept aside their lackluster opponents. Mariner saw an improved display throughout the team in all areas.
"Mentally, we looked brighter. Our passing was sharper and, in turn, our movement following on from that was bright. It was difficult for them to close us down. The delivery from Pepe (Jose Cancela) on set-pieces was fantastic too," he said.
"We got the early goal which always helps to settle everybody down. We looked very powerful going forward and the defensive positions that the back three and the midfield four took up made it difficult for them to break on us."
The Revs' move this season to a 3-4-3 formation has attracted some criticism, with skeptics pointing out the isolation it leaves the side's forwards in when it doesn't work. By contrast, on Saturday, it was used to devastating effect, as the home side had goal threats from all over the field. Following Twellman's goal, the fact that the next three came from midfielders Steve Ralston and Shalrie Joseph (two) was a sign that the players are more comfortable with the new alignment after what has been a slow adjustment.
"With the way that we want to develop the system, (midfield involvement) is exactly what happens," said Mariner. "Shalrie arrived perfectly for the cross having lost his marker very well and he also had a lot of pressure on the penalty, because of the time between it being given and him taking it."
This Saturday the much-improved Chivas USA come to Gillette Stadium and the Revolution should be under no illusion that their task will be a straightforward one. The need to put together a run of results is pressing and, after a home setback against the Fire a week before, Mariner hopes that what he and Nicol saw last Saturday will be reflected as the side moves forward.
"That was more like a Revolution performance at home. I hope that the Chicago game was a blip. When teams come in here we like to take the game to them and I think we did it really, really well," Mariner said. "(Los Angeles) just couldn't get in their stride because we were mounting attacks at them and it was difficult for them to grow from the back."
Andrew Hush is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.