By Kevin Koczwara
The Revolution barely had any time to get their feet on solid ground when the Los Angeles Galaxy pounced on them in the sixth minute with a demoralizing opening goal. Edison Buddle headed the ball into the upper part of the net after a beautiful set-piece cross from Landon Donovan, last year’s MLS MVP.
The match was the season opener for both teams, Galaxy (1-0-0, 3 pts) and Revolution (0-1-0 0, pts) and the last game of opening weekend for the MLS.
The Revs couldn’t recover in the first half after Buddle’s early goal. They lacked any link-up play from the back four to the attack without their leader in the middle, Shalrie Joseph, nursing a hip flexor injury. The game mostly stayed that way as the Revs couldn’t hold down the midfield or make many productive passes to release their strikers from the midfield.
It was evident in the first half that the Revs were nervous and unsure of themselves without Joseph controlling the midfield, organizing the defense and instigating the attack. There was a lack of fluidity in their play and no dominate periods of confident possession in the Galaxy’s half of the field.
With all the negative play from the Revolution in the first half, they were still only down 1-0.
The Revolution came out with great poise and passion in the second half. They went right after the Galaxy after play restarted. And it was Zack Schilawski, the Revolution’s rookie forward who was taken ninth in 2010 Super Draft, creating the most havoc in the Galaxy end of the field.
Schilawski made a beautiful move in the box moments after the half-time whistle, fooling Donovan Ricketts, the Galaxy goalkeeper, on the touchline and setting up Kheli Dube for an open net chance, which Dube put over the net. Minute’s later Schilawski set-up Dube again with some more creative footwork in the box and a great pass, only to see his setup wasted with another missed shot.
Dube had three chances in the second half to level the game for the Revolution, but missed all three, not putting a single one on net. His third chance came from a beautiful cross delivered from the left wing by Chris Tierney that Dube, again, failed to put on net.
Missed chances weren’t only mastered by the Revolution forwards, Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle had their fair share of chances in the second half on the counter attack, only to see nothing to come out of them.
The Galaxy’s best chance came late in the game when Donovan broke on the counter and beat all of the Revolution defenders and instead of being selfish and finishing 1-on-1 with the keeper Preston Burpo, he decided to pass it off to Alex Cazumba, who was joining him in the attack. Cazumba couldn’t finish the chance.
Outside of the few missed chances, the game was bogged down in the midfield as neither team could gain full control of the game or possession. It was evident that both sides were missing big players in their midfield as the Galaxy were without the injured David Beckham, who they could have used to slow the pace down and bring the ball to the ground and create opportunities in the attacking third.
The Revs didn’t have the best start to their season last year and they still managed to make the MLS playoffs. It will be more difficult this year to repeat that feat as other sides throughout the league have improved during the off-season, so they will aim to get their first win next weekend in Washington D.C. against the D.C. United, who lost today 4-0 at home to Kansas City.
The Revs will hope Shalrie Joseph will be fit and ready to go next weekend, as he will try and solidify the midfield that had a hard time controlling play and creating chances for the most part against the Galaxy. He was voted as last year’s team MVP and had to step as a striker a few times last year when the Revs had a short bench due to injuries.
Another week should give some of the Revolution more time to work on their attack, as they looked strong in the defensive third, but lacked in the final third of the attack.
The Revolution will kick-off their second game of the year Saturday, April 3 when they play D.C. United at RFK Stadium. The game will start at 7:30 p.m. We will have another live blogging experience here for you at The Soccer Guys, so don’t miss it.
Kevin Koczwara can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is our Live Blog of the Game