After Revs II’s trip to Chattanooga last weekend ended in a 4-0 mauling at the jaws of the Red Wolves, there were enough mitigators to paint the blowout as just a blip. For one thing, it was Revs II’s third game in an eight-day tilt. For another, it was just their second road game of the season.
The thread of hope coach Clint Peay chose to cling to was a touch of southern discomfort – having to play at Red Wolf Arena in the midday Tennessee heat. One can’t help wondering if that situation might’ve been exacerbated by the decision to change out all of two players (including the goalkeeper!) of the eleven who beat Greenville three days earlier. Especially when said eleven had busted a gut defending against the Upstate Boys.
Well, there was no southern inhospitality to blame on Friday…
— New England Revolution II (@NERevolution2) September 5, 2020
Ironically, Peay chose this game to rotate, with 17-year-old academy kid Michael Tsicoulias partnering nonlethal weapon Orlando Sinclair, a man whose very presence has a calming effect on backlines leaguewide. It’s a shame to see Sinclair’s budding partnership with midfielder Nicolas Firmino discontinued, but seeing as there’s more chance of the Revolution signing Roberto Firmino than Nicolas playing upfront for the first team, you can see why Brucey might’ve penned that particular memo.
Less explicable were the trinity that gifted Forward Madison three of their four goals. Brazilian dungeon master (that’s what DM stands for, right?) Maciel’s error-free run ended in ignominy when Michael Vang pantsed him at the edge of Revs II’s box. I’m happy to declare centreback Collin Verferth innocent of personal responsibility for his so-called own goal. The unlucky deflection off Josiah ‘The Barber’ Trimmingham’s indirect free-kick was a team effort in incompetence.
Alas, his part in the Flamingos’ fourth goal is another story altogether. Verfurth deserved an assist for the ball he so cleanly played to the feet of Madison’s intimidating (in stature and spelling) Wojciech Wójcik.
Putting the Minor in Minor League
The closest thing to a silver lining this game had for Revs II was the performance of their high schoolers. Their best chances on goal were a close-range shot by 16-year-old Hikaru Fujiwara and a header by 17-year-old Damian Rivera, who also had some good interplay with Firmino. As for Michael Tsicoulias, don’t read too much into his non-existent shot count: it’s not his fault he had to play with Sinclair.
Portuguese draftee Tiago Mendonca plays his box-to-box role with such an old-school English charm, it’s been a struggle not to call him Clive. Seeing him go from throwing his 170lb frame around Revs II’s half to becoming a short-passing technician around the opposing penalty area can make for quite a jarring spectacle.
Even without Revs II’s defensive gaffes, the Flamingos would’ve waddled off with the three points anyway, thanks in part to Justin Trudeau. With Toronto FC II sitting out the 2020 season, Madison loaned in their captain, Adolfo Ovalle, earlier in the week. It’s a testament to quite how broken Jozy Altidore must be if Toronto FC can’t keep him fit because the cheeky Chilean nailed a screamer – incidentally just the kind of goal Revs II’s hit-and-hope brigade were gunning for all night – within fifteen minutes of subbing on.
So, maybe Clint will follow Sheila Broflovski’s example and blame Canada.