Massive overachievers or massive underachievers?

Discussion in 'New England Revolution' started by BigFrank, Nov 7, 2004.

  1. BigFrank

    BigFrank New Member

    Apr 3, 1999
    Dublin, Ireland
    Jim Dow made an interesting observation in another thread:
    "If anyone doubts that the Revs are capable of playing exciting, attacking soccer and staying with any team in the league they can't possibly have watched tonight. Full credit to both teams and let's hope that the players who played tonight are the core of next year's edition."

    There are considerable doubts because we had never seen the current edition of the Revos, more likely no edition of the Revos, ever rise to the occasion and play such a thoroughly entertaining and passionate game. In fact, we've seen nothing even remotely close from this franchise.

    And full props to DC United, too, who were just as up for it. It takes two to tango and to turn out a classic like last night's match.

    As great at last night's match was, what does that say about the rest of the matches that we witnessed this season?

    Are the Revos as good as they showed last night? Or was that an aberration and they greatly overachieved?

    How could a team that so was listless all season suddenly rise to the occasion and show so much passion? Yet what does that say about all of the dull, lifeless, boring performances that put them into the position of needing to win the final regular season match to even qualify for the playoffs on tiebreakers after tying for the worst record in the league?

    Why didn't we see anything remotely like last night's game prior to last night?

    We already know that Nicol is coming back next season.
    Some people used last night's game as an example as a reason why to keep him.
    But what does last night's game say about his inability to motivate the team and get them to play attractive soccer during the course of the regular season?

    If the regular season is so meaningless, then why should we bother to pay to see it? Besides saying there are no playoffs without a regular season.
    So what to do to make the regular season more meaningful and potentially attractive?

    The Revos won only 8 of 30 regular season games, and only 1 of 3 playoff games. That's 9 of 33 matches. Those are facts that can not be disputed or glossed over by one match.

    Both teams gave us a real classic last night.
    We can't expect that all of the time, but we also never got anything close in the previous 32 matches.

    So, did the Revos greatly overachieve for one night? Or did they severely underachieve all season long?

    And if whichever side you take, why would you want to keep the core of the current roster?
  2. MouseyTongue

    MouseyTongue New Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    a box in the Chairma
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'll take underachievers for 100, Alex.

    There were a number of excuses early in the season that had limited legitimacy. Granted, the Revs suffered injuries, but other teams had similar experiences and the impact should have lessened with time. So I'm willing to accept a sub-par season based on the limitations. But what I am not willing to accept is that some of what we heard from some of the players at times was an acknowledgement that they were not giving 100% To me that says that they were intentional underachievers!

    I'm still smarting from the Open Cup loss. That was a clear example IMHO of underachieving. Here was Dempsey playing with a broken jaw, but Nicol couldn't make the moves and/or motivate the team to win. We have enough history with Nicol now to see the pattern. Personally, I'm hoping for MLS to radically change the post-season, limiting it to perhaps 4 clubs, to force the likes of Nicol to motivate their teams to play like it matters for a full season.

    The team that showed up last night was the team that we had been waiting for since the pre-season. Please don't make us wait until September to see them again.

    Your question about why to keep underachievers is a good one. The reason I would keep them is that they have shown their potential (whereas if they were overachievers it would be folly to expect that level of play again). The problem as I see it is motivation. Thus if a change is to be made it must be with the coach. I'm not in favor of firing Nicol, but I would love to know what it takes to get him to manage this team the way he did last night for bulk of the season.
  3. JMMUSA8

    JMMUSA8 New Member

    Nov 3, 2001
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Certainly not, but that statistic is a little skewed. Although the Revs won 9 of 33 matches, they also had 10 ties. So 19 of 33 games they came away with points.

    Injuries played a big part in the inconsistency of the season. It's a valid excuse, Nicol couldn't get the same group of guys on the field to play well executed football. At the end of the season the boys stayed healthy and got some games under their belt where they played well. They carried that into the playoffs and grew stronger each game. You could see it, if not you are blind.
  4. BigFrank

    BigFrank New Member

    Apr 3, 1999
    Dublin, Ireland
    As Ronald Reagan would have said, "Well, there you go again." :rolleyes:

    It is a fact that they won only 9 games out of 33.

    Any team that can perform with passion like last night's team did, yet turned in that dismal record, has to raise eyebrows and open eyes as to where did things go wrong.

    Throwing in ties doesn't help your argument, only clouds it.

    If last night's match didn't have you questioning the dross that we witnessed all season (losses and ties considered together, if you'd like), then perhaps you should reconsider who is being blind to what happened before your very own eyes, both last night and from April to October.

    The contrast between the two is just too stark.
  5. JMMUSA8

    JMMUSA8 New Member

    Nov 3, 2001
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Columbus only won 12 of 32 games. Kansas City won 16 of 33. DC has won 14 of 33 matches. These teams are below .500. Would you label these teams as underachievers, or failures?
  6. BigFrank

    BigFrank New Member

    Apr 3, 1999
    Dublin, Ireland
    Do you play to win? Or do you play to draw?

    Oh, that's right, Nicol was accused of sometimes playing for a draw at home.

    But we are talking about how a team that finished tied for the worst record in the league over 30 games could put in a performance like last night's?

    And the question again is: did they massively overachieve last night or massively underachieve all season?

    And if they underachieved all season, why and what can and should be done about?

    Injuries effect man power. Injuries do not effect level of the passion and commitment that we saw on the field last night and did not see all season.
  7. Jeremy Goodwin

    Jeremy Goodwin Member+

    SSC Napoli
    Feb 16, 1999
    Montreal Impact
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Actually, these teams were .617, .583, and .517 respectively, all above .500.

    The Revs were .417

    We are only talking about the league right?

    In meaningful games so far this season (League, Playoffs, Open Cup and Play-in Internationals) KC is .635, CLB .588, DC .529 and we are .441

    All time in meaningful games (including extra time, but excluding tiebreakers [shootout, PKs]), we are .446, so this was a below average year for the Revs.

    This information is updated after every week of games and is contained in my sig under "MLS Results Table"
  8. JMMUSA8

    JMMUSA8 New Member

    Nov 3, 2001
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I understand the statistics, I was just making the point that the way BigFrank looks at the standings for the Revs should be the same as the other teams, and no team has in fact finished over .500 in his mind. Wins are most important to him, and Revs only got 9 of them, which is a big problem.

    As for the original question, I wouldn't say we were massive underachievers. If we were massive underachievers, we would have had a season like the Dallas Burn of last year or the 1999 Metrostars. I don't think we had a bad season in that aspect, but not a season to be celebrated by the front office causing them not to retool for next season. Revs need to get young durable guys full with passion so they can play the type of soccer we saw last night.

    But I don't think any Revs fan can actually expect the Revs to pull out a performance like they did last night every Saturday. That game was a special occasion. Do or die, either win or you go home. You can't put that mentality into a team week in and week out, the team will get burned out and we can go on our annual late season run inot the Eastern Conference Final.
  9. Arisrules

    Arisrules Member

    Feb 19, 2000
    Washington, DC
    I think it's a bit of both actually. Your offense is very good, with two capable forwards, and midfielders who like to join the attack and move the ball. They know how to play. But honestly, your defense blows, which tempers the idea of "underachievers". Heaps is probably the worst defender in MLS. Leonard last night against DC was very good I thought. He was ripping Stewart apart for most of the game, sending in some solid crosses. That was the best I've ever seen him play personally. John is alright, very physical, and Pierce is also alright. That is the hole in the team which I think is an understatement, and Nicol has to solve it.
  10. Soc4Us

    Soc4Us Member

    Jun 11, 2004
    Dunstable, MA
  11. Soccer Doc

    Soccer Doc Member+

    Nov 30, 2001
    Keene, NH
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Frank, what is a Revos? Is adding"os" to the teams name an Irish suffix from your childhood or just another of your ways of smearing the team?:confused:
  12. BigFrank

    BigFrank New Member

    Apr 3, 1999
    Dublin, Ireland

    I've always referred to the them as the Revos.
    Revo-lu-tion. Revos.

    Probably comes from my upbringing. I never really thought about it.
    No slight intended.

    I think Dupont in El Globo also refers to them the same way.
  13. AndyMead

    AndyMead Homo Sapien

    Nov 2, 1999
    Seat 12A
    Sporting Kansas City
    Yet, you seemed to indicate that a team with 9 wins wasn't so different from one with 16.

    Which is even more misleading than anything you're accusing Big Frank of.
  14. bbsbt

    bbsbt Member+

    Feb 26, 2003
    Why can't all regular season games be the same as this game?
    Why is such intensity, passion and zeal that we witnesed last night, missing from most regular season games? (this applies to all MLS teams, not just the Revs).

    You have to wonder sometimes if a bigger pay would be motivation enough for the players to elevate their game... on a consistent basis.
  15. Mike Marshall

    Mike Marshall Member+

    Feb 16, 2000
    Woburn, MA
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Strangely enough, I'm actually with Big Frank on this.

    The Regular Season was a HUGE disappointment for me. Not enough effort, not enough execution and WAY too many bad decisions by players and management alike.

    It was unacceptable, and I hope the run they made over the past four or five weeks doesn't fool Revs management into thinking that large scale changes aren't warranted.
  16. Tattoo Gulati

    Tattoo Gulati New Member

    May 6, 2001
    Fantasy Island
    Good summation.

    The regular season, taken by itself, was a huge disappointment.
    Had the Revs not made the playoff they would have been forced to make wholesale changes or even more fans would have left, whether they were rolling back season ticket prices or not.

    I can not see how anyone can make a case that the regular season was anything but an unmitigated disaster.

    Saturday night's game was like a mirage.
    They found an oasis in a season that had been a wandering in a desert.

    I think based on club history, that management will be fooled into thinking that major changes are not needed. That would be a real shame because the regular season provides a lot more evidence than the playoffs of this team's real makeup, which is seriously flawed.

    Our spirits have been lifted by a single playoff game that resulted in a loss by PKs. We should remember how many times we were depressed following regular season losses and that needs to be considered when fans and management look at the big picture.
  17. ToMhIlL

    ToMhIlL Member+

    Feb 18, 1999
    Boxborough, MA
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Big Frank quotes The Gipper. Now I know the Apocalypse is near! :eek:
  18. Fiero20

    Fiero20 Member

    Aug 3, 2002
    Gillette Stadium
    Fulham FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States

    my spirits were lifted when we beat chicago to get into the playoffs. after that game i saw no reason why the revs should lose the rest of the year.

    why does bigfrank have such a negative attitude? was he an abused child?
  19. idiot wind

    idiot wind Member

    Mar 12, 2004
    Does 10 years of watching the Revs count as abuse?
  20. ToMhIlL

    ToMhIlL Member+

    Feb 18, 1999
    Boxborough, MA
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Let's put this all into perspective. We Rev fans should be encouraged by the recent play of the team. My "watershed moment" was the 6-1 win over Colorado, although there were a couple of poor performances mixed in with the better games following that.

    So be happy that the season ended on a better note, but don't kid yourselves. There will be significant changes next year, and while I expect most of the starters to be back, I would expect to see the Revs upgrade significantly in certain areas, as well as in the supporting cast.

    It should be an interesting off-season, and the only way I won't be optimistic going into next season is if they delude themselves into standing pat. I can't see that happening.

  21. pwykes

    pwykes Member

    Apr 18, 1999
    Auburn, MA
    I think the MLS playoff format is the biggest reason for the lack of passion in the regular season. With only two teams not making the playoffs, the regular season is essentially meaningless and doesn't provide enough of an incentive for the team to play well. I think the only hope is for a change in the format so that only a maximum of 4 teams actually make the playoffs.
  22. Jim Dow

    Jim Dow New Member

    Mar 20, 1999
    Belmont, MA
    The greatest danger for the status quo is that the genie is out of the bottle and we all realize just how exciting (and yes, despite all the mistakes, good) MLS games can be. So now the trick is to pressure all concerned to inject that edge into the regular season. Can it work 100%? No, but certainly intensity can be raised by the simplest of tactics, serious performance bonuses for players and coaches. Make the games truly professional every time out. Good players respond to pressure which, in turn, can be applied by legislation, so to speak.

    Yes that means more money but whty shouldn't we demand that as consumer/supporters. Make the product as good as we know it can be.

  23. idiot wind

    idiot wind Member

    Mar 12, 2004
    Aggressive attack and wide open play (helped by weak defense) is fun to watch, but easy to beat. Once results are prioritized over entertainment, as most fans demand, the dreamers are discarded and the pragmatists brought in. Goodbye Clavijo, hello Stevie. A Faustian bargin for sure.
  24. Kanu

    Kanu New Member

    Mar 26, 2000
    Owerri, Nigeria
    I think that we can already see that Saturday's great Eastern Conference final is clouding some peoples judgement of the "big picture." Even though it ended in a defeat by penalty kicks, it was a great memory to leave everyone with as the offseason is entered.

    I do wonder if it will cloud team management's judgement, thinking that much is alright because of another late season push, the elimination of Columbus and the great game in Washington. What happened prior still represents the vast majority of the season, and what we pay to see.

    I think Big Frank is right in asking the question if the Revolution overachieved at the end or underachieved during the long season, because it really must be one or the other since the differences in performance were so stark.

    The Revolution were unable to build upon a MLS Cup final appearance that drew a home crowd of more than 60,000 after the 2002 season. I am not so sure a spectacular away game and reduced season ticket price for next season will reverse the attendance trend, either, but we can hope.
  25. The Magpie

    The Magpie Member

    Nov 19, 1998
    Cambridge, MA
    To be honest, I think it's entirely fair to suggest that the Revolution underachieved during the season, and to an extent, overachieved in the post-season. Qualifying either as "massive" is a bit subjective, and obviously open to debate.

    The Revolution concluded the 2004 regular season as one of their worst in team history, and for any number of reasons (injuries, tactical decisions, etc.), the club just wasn't as competitive as they could have or should have been.

    Understanding this, the team did manage to come together at just the right time to make a run through the post-season, knocking off a Columbus side that was the "class" of MLS during the regular season, then giving United everything they could handle... and then some, only to bow out on PK's.

    The obvious question is this: how does the Revolution front office currently rate this team, and where does it want to go with it during the off-season and on towards 2005?

    Changes of some variety will be forthcoming, and I think Revolution supporters will see more player movement than in previous seasons, this due to roster constraints, salary cap issues, expansion, etc. I think we'll get a decent glimpse of things come the Expansion Draft, seeing just what players are left unprotected.

    I just think the club's smart enough to appreciate their needs goigng forward, and that change is going to be required to facilitate improvement.

    The Magpie

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