After weathering their inaugural bore-draw with Union Omaha, you could forgive Revs II for being just a little confident going into last Friday’s game, if only on historical grounds. In their first season back after a year-long hiatus, Orlando City B spent 2019 cultivating a deserved reputation as USL1’s whipping boys. By year’s end, coming away with anything less than three points was considered an upset for any team.
So much for history…
— New England Revolution II (@NERevolution2) August 8, 2020
While the hosts made the visitors’ lives significantly easier with an early red card, these kitties have some bite. The same can’t be said for Revs II, although despite the lack of goals, Revs II’s offense did at least seem a lot better organised. Gone were the 25-yard moon-shots that rained down on Omaha, replaced by a renewed emphasis on crosses and opportunistic longballs.
It might have all panned out rather differently if Revs II had an honest-to-God target-forward on hand. As things stand, Costa Rican loanee Orlando Sinclair – a utility forward with ‘second striker’ potential – continues to be miscast as some sort of latter-day Taylor Twellman. I’m not saying the team needs to pull Shalrie Joseph away from his academy gig (though USL1 would benefit from a few more old bruisers), but the old Spice Boy sure could nail a header.
Exit The Dragon
Coming off the draw with Omaha, it looked like Clint Peay had a bit of dilemma on his hands as to who started at right-back against OCB. Lest we forget, Japanese draftee Ryo Shimazaki was the only guy to put one of the aforementioned moonshots on frame. Alas, an injury to Simon Lekressner made the decision for him, and for a half-hour or so, all was well.
Then it very quickly wasn’t.
— New England Revolution II (@NERevolution2) August 7, 2020
Besides the ten minutes between bookings, the biggest surprise was probably the strength of Ryo’s reaction to being carded for a flagrant shirt pull. Here’s hoping Lekressner gets back in time for this week’s trip down to Arlington for the Pre-Revs. The commentator’s incessant references to how pivotal Ryo’s absence was on both OCB’s goals gave some idea as to how well Peay’s attempts to fill that void went.
On early evidence, Congolese winger Mayele Malango is looking like the most potent weapon in Clint Peay’s limited locker-room arsenal. The best of Revs II’s balls into the box came off his feet, and for one tantalizing moment, he looked set to be through on goal with just OCB keeper Austin Aviza (off his line no less) to beat. That is, had Orlando Sinclair thought to glance up before congenially kicking the ball into the hands of Aviza.
Maybe showboat captain Maciel didn’t get the memo banning moonshots, or maybe the inner flame that brought the Brazilian 5,000 miles from home in pursuit of a dream was burning just a little too bright. Either way, I dare say the unmarked Mayele Malango, arms outstretched in disbelief, spoke for many of us as he watched his Revs teammate punt for glory…all the way over the crossbar.
Mind you, if you’re gonna fail, you might as well look good doing it.