Well…that was unexpected.
And our undefeated streak has come to an end.
— Greenville Triumph SC (@GVLTriumph) August 27, 2020
After suffering through their first taste of Sawatzkyball last weekend, expectations could hardly have been lower for a team yet to record a win going up against the unbeaten Greenville Triumph. Cue a phenomenal defensive effort from Revs II, in which the formation expanded and contracted with the cumbersome grace of a twenty-legged Slinky.
There was some particularly determined tracking-back on the part of wingers Conor Presley and Mayele Malango, which went a long way to making up for the continuing toothlessness up top. Speaking of which, everyone’s favourite non-lethal weapon Orlando Sinclair started again.
— New England Revolution II (@NERevolution2) August 26, 2020
That said, it would appear someone on the coaching staff, possibly in an Archimedean bathtub epiphany, hit upon the idea of how to best utilize the Costa Rican loanee. Thus, thanks to that man dripping suds onto the carpet of Clint Peay’s office, Sinclair was let loose as a free-roaming facilitator while utility midfielder Nicolas Firmino picked up the slack at centre-forward.
Obviously, Sinclair didn’t score (it would be in the headline if he had!), but he did initiate the passage of play which culminated in Ryo Shimazaki’s goal (more on that later). The longer this striker crisis rolls on, the more it seems whoever the front office appointed to assemble Revs II’s roster must’ve somehow not foreseen Brian Wright – a 2017 draftee they strung along for three years – being cut last off-season.
Having netted his first ever professional goal last week, Mayele Malango had every right to feel confident coming into this game. Alas, this give rise to many of the same bad habits that have previously had the Congolese winger gesturing furiously at his footwear when perpetrated by teammates.
Step forward Nicolas Firmino, who Malango essentially ignored four times in twelve minutes as he dribbled into dead ends and tried attempted some very speculative shots. We can only speculate as to what went through the Brazilian’s mind a few minutes later when, standing on the ball at the edge of Greenville’s area, he waited for left-back Ryo Shimazaki, all while a certain winger was waving furiously at him nearby.
Enter The Dragon, Part Deux
The goal which ended Dallas Jaye’s four-game shutout streak was but the salt on the proverbial golden steak for Japanese draftee Ryo Shimazaki.* Starting at left-back (where he played semi-regularly for Kawasaki Frontale’s U-18 side) in his first match since that game-changing red card against OCB, the clean sheet topped off the perfect redemptive performance.
— 島崎 竜/Ryo Shimazaki (@RyoNe0419) August 27, 2020
*Rather niftily, his first name (竜) translates as “dragon” in English.
Engage Concacaf Mode!
One of the few highlights of Revs II’s incredibly forgettable inaugural game was a deluge of stoppage-time yellow cards (three in four minutes) as Revs II sought to prevent Union Omaha from scoring by any means. Things weren’t quite as condensed this time around – instead it took eight minutes to complete the trifecta – but it’s hard to fault such barefaced cynicism from a New England-based team.
Special mention to Portuguese draftee Tiago Mendonca, who narrowly avoided staging a tribute to Stevie G’s infamous 38-second red card when he tried to leapfrog a Greenvillain within half a minute of replacing Maciel.