New England Evolution: Revs II put down Orlando’s kittens in matinee basement brawl

When someone on the east side of the Atlantic can tune in to live American soccer in the middle of the afternoon, it’s a safe bet someone across the pond is being grossly inconvenienced. The average magic 8-ball has as much idea as I do as to why this game kicked off at 11:00 am.

As much as it pains to speak in RW Chattanooga’s defence, they can at least argue Red Wolf Arena is still under construction. The same wouldn’t appear to be true of forty-year-old Osceola County Stadium. Maybe the idea was to give the young MLS hopefuls a belated taste of the MLS Is Back experience: getting hauled out of bed at the crack of dawn to go play equally bleary-eyed opposition in 88°F heat.

Perhaps someone at USL HQ saw an opportunity to bury this hot contest for tenth place in a timeslot when umpteen European leagues were in action. Regardless, the dulcet monotone commentary of local rent-a-larynx Bruce Silverman was well-suited to the lethargic non-spectacle which played out an old baseball field down in Kissimmee.

Mind you, it wasn’t all bad.

One goal is indeed all it took, but Revs II could, should, and would’ve had more but for OCB goalkeeper Austin Aviza. I’d like to be able to say there was a certain flukiness to Justin Rennicks’ goal. Alas, given that there was sufficient space in OCB’s area for the ball to bounce unhindered off Orlando Sinclair’s foot, onto the turf and back up to where Rennicks could apply his noggin to it says all there is to say about the kittens’ defensive illiteracy.

Speaking of Rennicks, it was nice to have confirmation of the staggering revelation that what Revs II’s squad was lacking was an honest-to-God striker round the wingers to orbit. In particular, Blond Bomber™ Connor Presley has looked more and more like that Texan kid who once bossed the Toolstation Northern Counties East Football League since Bruce turned the U-20 World Cup hero loose.

Whether Revs II’s first ever win streak will survive their visit to Richmond on Saturday will depend in large part on whether Joe Rice, who was stretchered off in the second half with a non-contact injury, will be in any shape to play. The Kickers’ deceptively modest 2-1 win in Foxborough owed more to imprecision than first-year draftee Keegan Meyer’s handiwork.

The Portugeezer Strikes Again

Speaking of draftees, Portuguese midfielder Tiago Mendonca continues to resemble a curious synthesis of Celtic physicality and Iberian flair. His long ball (struck from OCB’s defensive third unlike in Tucson) set off the chain reaction which ended in Rennicks’ header. He could arguably have been a tad less enthusiastic in bodychecking children at times, but just as The Korgis said, everyone’s got to learn sometime.

Right in the Tabs!

It would be remiss of me not to shout-out OCB’s Moises Tablante. In a game where every second pass his teammates hit seemed to go somewhere other than intended – the nadir coming in the 80th minute, when Kenji Tanaka deftly nutmegged Wilfredo Rivera – the Venezuelan prospect put in as much of a shift as he could can under the circumstances. For proof of his commitment, look no further than his ballsy 55th-minute interception of Jon Bell’s attempted clearance. Talk about groin injuries.

 Falhar Bonito (Again)

Ah, Maciel: the gift that just keeps on giving…the ball away.

Reportedly, at least one coach of an opposing USL1 team singled out the young Brazilian as a guy their players needed to keep an eye on. One can only surmise it’s because they never quite knew when he was going to hit an exquisite pass to an opponent’s feet. The obligatory turnover in this game came in the 40th minute.

To Maciel’s credit, he blocked the follow-up pass, only for the ball to ricochet to another purple shirt. The kittens got as far as the edge of Revs II’s box before Maciel swept in to intercept the next mishit pass. He dribbled towards the corner flag, put the ball through the legs of the kid pressing him, only to see it land at the feet of another purple shirt.

Here’s hoping he learns sometime soon, too.