Five fucking times

At least this time i’m not in a car heading back from RFK with the fresh taste of heartbreak to distract me when i’m not even driving. Seriously i’d like to pull all the Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins fans over here to have a talk about what this feels like because if you weren’t a Sox fan in 2003, you have no fucking clue.

This was kind of the golden moment. The chance for our Revolution to lift one of the last early MLS Cups. You know those old Super Bowls in grainy color with Namath before he was a sexual-harassing old drunk, the early days of the league we all pat ourselves on the back for lifting up on our own middle-class driving-to-foxboro-every-week shoulders. This is one of three we probably should have hoisted. Before the league gets out of our middle-class ‘the-players-make-as-much-as-i-do’ era when they still reply to us on twitter and can walk through Whole Foods with a nod, not a mob. Cherish this, MLS fans, for our reward for building the league will be to have it taken from us, and it can be no other way.

It was there, a mere inch or two below Teal Bunbury’s aim, from Lee Nguyen’s last feed, a dagger suddenly appearing at the vaunted Galaxy’s throat. The momentum was on our guys’ side, as was the possession. But as i fretted, a full half our backline had their mind on something other than defense, and even though Wellesley’s own Chris Tierney scored the equalizer, he also played the winner onside. He’s not a left back, never has been, speaking as someone who plays the position 40 times a year, he was switched off at a bad time and a great player made it pay.

other than that, i think you probably have to give the penalty for lee nguyen earlier. juninho could have played it clean, but he didn’t. he ran him over, all body, no ball, you have to call the pk. different game.

so proud of all our guys, though. chuck d. coming back hungry against impossible odds, teal bunbury pwning people after being counted out, patrick mullins, earning time, teal bunbury, an inch away, lee nguyen, tantalizing us with the prospect of what he can do when people are marking dempseys and altidores, aj soares, an inspiration to beleaguered centerbacks everywhere, and jermaine jones: trade los angeles for boston, i promise we are your kind of people. and scott caldwell and chris tierney and charlie davies and diego fagundez and jay heaps, new england is so, so proud of you.

for someone who loves soccer and baseball, now march is really the best time of year. cold nights with the revolution at gillette, neck and neck with those hideous nights in the bleachers at fenway.

can’t wait.

Player Ratings from MLS Cup 2014:

Bobby Shuttleworth: 5: Next year is big for him. He either needs to grow into Matt Reis’ shoes or move on (down). Fact: Matt Reis would have sent this to penalties. Shave your head. Become immortal.

Farrell: 5: Abused today, but rebounded quietly in the second half. Out of position forward of the play. José’s probably not going anywhere so it’s an interesting question what to do with Andrew.

Soares 5.5: Can’t claim impartiality here, as i identify too much with AJ’s need to clean up other peoples’ fuckups. He’s done a super job, but with him pushed up to cut shit out, with Goncalves as the daddy CB and Farrell pushed up too far on offense, this was bound to be trouble.

Goncalves 6: He fucked up, but he cleaned up his fuckups so well today that he’s far from the problem. Enjoy winter in Cambridge, José, and if i see you in a bar, i will still buy you all the beers.

Tierney 6.5 Not there for defense; not fast enough nor motivated enough, but damn if that goal didn’t embody everything that our revolution stand for. You are an excellent masshole, Chris Tierney.

Teal Bunbury: 6 You were so close to being the big damn hero. We would like to see you in the Dedham Whole Foods next year.

Scott Caldwell: Kyle Beckerman’s not immortal. Lie in wait.

jermaine jones: America loves you, but only revs fans can admit it now. who gives a shit where you come from, but you embody everything that is american about soccer and we are pleased to have you here. Visit Boston when it is nice out, pls, i will personally sell you on it.

Lee Nguyen: Don’t leave us for Southampton or Fulham, because on our day, the Revolution are a better team and Jürgen will see you just fine here because you have eaten José Torres’ sandwich. Make Bob Kraft pay you.

Kelyn Rowe: Next year is your terrifying year, where you and Lee split the goals, yes?

Charlie Davies: We are all behind you, and this is all our shoulders shoving you to score against MEX in a couple years, right?

Patrick Mullins: Any game a 4-4-2 is penciled in, you cause the opposition to shit their pants, right?

Diego Fagundez: Motivated? We wanted you to be the hero, but we still know you have it in you. Trust your mom to feed you good.

Jay Heaps: Proud.

Revolution 0:1 Impact de Montréal

Because they’re pissing me off, and i don’t write enough here, i’m going to start writing up match reports of the Revolution matches.  The number one rule of this site is to write about whatever you please, after all.

So yet again, the Revolution found a way to lose a game in which they had all of the attacking possession, and all but one of the actual serious chances.  Never mind crossbars, posts, or penalties not given, the promise of the earlier part of the season has well and truly slipped away.  Players who were having palpable fun on the field are now frustrated and sulking, and the crankiness in the stands is well and truly back.

What’s the problem as far as my inexpert opinion is concerned?  1. The shortcomings against physical sides like Kansas City and Toronto were obvious; the skill players such as Nguyen and Feilhaber were getting clobbered, the refs didn’t call it often enough, and even when they did… 2. They can’t score a set piece to save their lives.  McCarthy got his head to a couple late tonight, but he’s really the only big body you can throw in the mixer, and is not who you’d want to rely on anyway.  3. Their patience is gone.  For all the talk of playing the game the right way, of passing the ball, playing possession and building from the back, they resort to blasting it far too often.  Finally, 4. the personnel is not right anymore; earlier in the season, it seemed Heaps could do no wrong with his substitutes, and the 11 were more up to the task.  Now, we’re back to seeing useless, clanking mismatched parts out there, waiting for them to be belatedly subbed out.   Seeing players get pushed around with no steel to strengthen the formation, and others being asked to do things they’re just not suited for.

If they put away one or two chances tonight, then we’re probably talking about a good performance, but they didn’t, so we’re not.  It’s not fair, but perhaps it’s more useful to not have continued shortcomings sugar-coated.

Player Ratings (per the typical 1-10 scale with its glorious shortcomings; 10 is perfect, 1 is dreadful, 5 is average):

Reis: 5.  Only save he had to make was one he really couldn’t be expected to.  Still nearly got a palm to it.  Calm as ever with the ball at his feet, but the long distribution still mediocre at best.

Tierney: 4.  Burned for speed only once, still tenacious going forward.  Even if you look at him as the offensive outside back and Alston as the defensive one, it’s not a good enough trade.  He dribbles the ball well, but the quality of his passes has been inadequate this year; he’s left Soares, Benny, Simms, Nguyen, amongst others way, way too short too many times and rolled too many balls to the opposition too often.  Time to give the rookie a shot.

Soares: 5.5.  ‘Megged on the goal, which i suppose should count against him, but it’s awfully unfair considering he’s running full stride to match a much faster player.  Calm and collected as always, with the usual well-timed steps to nip attacks in the bud.  The yellow card was the product of an excellent dive, not any sort of foul.

McCarthy: 6.  An excellent offensive header across goal from the post on a corner probably would have been put away if a certain dreadlocked guy was still around.  Good positioning all night. Both center-backs were very steady tonight.

Alston: 6.  Made good runs, was constantly open out wide, put in one excellent cross, one lousy up-the-line ball.  Completely untroubled on defense except when Felipe tried to win a penalty against him the same way Philadelphia did two weeks ago.

Nguyen: 5.5. His work is very commendable, and for a good ten minutes, he’d actually taken control of the middle of the field, which the Revs seemingly hadn’t done for weeks.  Having said that, his effectiveness is less than what it once was; he can’t dribble around everyone all the time, and now he’s double-teamed and roughed-up constantly.  Couple this with the loss of the close-quarters triangle passing and lack of off-the-ball movement, and he’s having to reach too deep into his bag of tricks too often.

Feilhaber: 4. Simply needs to do more.  It doesn’t help that he’s being asked to sit really far back.  The problem with this is that when he makes a loose pass or tries something opportunistic (read:reckless), there are fewer people behind him.  Maybe it’s harsh to hold his (terrible) giveaway accountable for the goal, considering it was in the offensive half of the field, but the trouble was, it put a fast runner right on your two centerbacks. Never mind the fact that for every nifty play that comes off, for every impeccably slotted through ball, there are five failed ones that end with him dribbling at people, leaving it for no one, or passing optimistically into traffic.  Not effective.

Simms: 5.  Better tonight than he has been lately, more active.  But the Revs were at their best when he, Benny, and Nguyen were constantly running off the ball and completing triangles.  It’s not happening anymore, and since Simms seems to have so many fewer touches of late, and the skill players are getting whacked, i feel like there’s some causation here.

Guy: 5.5.  It’s unfair to give him less than this, because he did everything he was asked to do.  The fact of the matter is, he’s a tiny player without the speed or the skills to compensate.  No idea why he keeps having to do so much work with his back to net.

Sène: 6.5. Maybe it’s a bit fashionable to bag on Saer Sène right now.  While he has missed some chances of late that would have changed results, you simply can’t ignore the fact that the dude is doing pretty much everything right now.  He drops back, he shepherds the ball through the midfield, he is distributor, provider, and finisher all in one.  There’s no way i fault him for having not everything work, considering that at least he’s trying.  He’s trying everything.

Bengtson: 5. Sorta on an island up there, unfortunately.  Was badly offside one time when it’d have been nice if he wasn’t.

Subs: Cardenas: 5.5.  Very bright start, good enthusiasm and fresh legs, but petered out after the first five minutes in.  Rowe: 5.5.  Same thing i said about Cardenas.  Fagundez: No rating.