Thursday, October 30, 2008

Touch and go

New England Revolution - half timeImage by shersteve via FlickrThe New England Revolution enter the playoffs again. While they have the longest continuous streak of making the playoffs amongst the New England pro teams, the only thing that really matters is winning the MLS Cup. Which they have yet to do. Will this be the year? It will be touch and go.

Recall that this season started back in March with some key folks missing. Noonan was gone for good, off to Norway. Riley also, via the draft to San Jose. John was not re-signed. Twellman was recovering. Who did we have? The younsters; Dube, Nyassi and Munsally to assist the core players, Ralston, Joseph, Parkhurst, Reis, etc. The Revs got started pretty well. They were top of the league and Taylor had not played a minute of a game. How did they do it? Touch and go.

Good quick passes, good movement off the ball, keeping the offensive pressure on, keeping the other offense at bay. As the season wore on, the opponents began to realize that one way to beat the speed was to be physical. Dube, Mansally, and Nyassi began to get mugged with the full approval of the officals. The SuperLiga intervened and the Revs prevailed topping the Houston Dynamo in a shoot-out final to take home their first international Cup. What was it like during the shoot-out? Touch and go!

The MLS season resumed with a series of 2 games a week and the Revs paid the price. Their legs and bodies couldn't handle the travel schedule. They got a break in mid-September, got some rest and still faltered into the end of the season. Questionable calls on the road, ugly red cards in the final game and finally the season was over. What did it feel like for the fans? Touch and go!

Now the playoffs begin. A clean slate, only 4 games left to play. They can not afford to lose a game. They have to step up big. The red card suspensions sit two starters for the first game. Twellman is still feeling the effects of his collision with the LA goalie in August. (Yes, he scored the goal). Ralston is out for the remainder of the season with his broken leg. Christman stopped his season in July to get his foot operated on. What does that leave to start? The youngsters; Dube, Mansally and Nyassi. What do they need to do? Touch and go.

Can they do it? Yes.
Will they do it? I hope so.

If they play to their strength (touch and go), Chicago can be tamed. Chicago won't be easy but they can be beaten. Who comes after that is not a concern. Chicago is the first and most important.

The Revs need to touch and go!

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