Real Salt Lake at New England Revolution: Armchair tactical analysis
Kreis is known for preaching defense at every position. And not just cover defense. Hard pressing, physical defense. Against New England, he drew his line of engagement nearly 10 yards ahead of the midfield circle and it was too much for the young Revs. They never mounted a serious buildup out of the back and RSL took advantage time and again by using pressure to win the ball in New England's half and immediately counterattacking. Paulo Jr.'s solo goal was the result of terrific high field defense from fellow forward Alvarez and a perfectly slotted ball from my player of the match, Collen Warner, who assisted on Real's other goal as well.
Often the deadliest time in a soccer game, transitions are tricky. So far this year, Real has been textbook perfect at them and Saturday night was no different, even with the young guns on the field. Saturday's squad could have seen this game as an opportunity to show off their individual talents and go it alone but instead they played as a team, showing terrific patience and poise. These guys held their shape so well and shifted gears from offense to defense and back to offense so seamlessly they left no question in anybody's mind that the line between first and second team is very thin indeed at Real Salt Lake.
In the end, Saturday's win proved that Jason Kreis' life just got a lot harder when it comes to staffing his side for coming games. I have a feeling that's a problem he's happy to have.
Chris Higbee is the Product Director for DeseretNews.com and a soccer fan for life. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @chigbee.
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