Everything you need to know about Revolution II’s 4-1 win over Fort Lauderdale CF Friday evening, in quickie form:
A right royal thumping: And then, it was four straight wins for the second team. The shutout streak may have come to a close at 403 minutes thanks to an early second-half equalizer by Fort Lauderdale, but that is secondary to the offensive explosion put forth by New England, finally back at Gillette Stadium following the month on the road. Four different players — Nicolas Firmino, Justin Rennicks, Ryan Spaulding, and Tiago Mendonça — all scored goals for Los Revitos, and they nearly had a fifth late in the match as Revolution II moved up to sixth in League One with the win, and have three matches remaining in the regular season.
A wild second half: New England took a 1-nil lead into the locker room, but that didn’t last too long as Fort Lauderdale 15-year-old Felipe Valenica sneaked past an unsuspecting Mendonça — he knew it — and slotted beyond Keegan Meyer to pull the match to level terms in the 52nd minute. But eight minutes later, Rennicks reclaimed the lead after a takeaway by Damian Rivera and a cross from Colby Quinones saw Air JR take off and back heel the football into the net to reclaim the lead, 2-1. Quarter of an hour later, Hikaru Fujiwara started a sharp counter and passed off to Firmino, who found an onside Spaulding. The Revs II left back tucked in the third goal at the near post to open his account, and Mendonça, after some hard work by sub Mayele Malango, chipped to the far post to open his account and wrap up the three points in second-half stoppage time.
Firmino blisters Revs ahead: Visiting Fort Lauderdale had a good deal of the possession during the first 40 minutes or so, but the only stat that matters is the scoreboard. And after a handling call went against the tourists from South Florida, and with Firmino and Spaulding standing over the ball just as the 41st minute expired, Firmino blistered the resulting free kick into the back of the Banner End net to give New England a 1-nil lead. It was his team-leading fourth of the season, and set the tone for the night.
Sinclair exits with hammy injury: Shortly after the goal, Los Revitos were on a counter. But Orlando Sinclair, just off the play, pulled up and fell to the plastic pasture grabbing his right hamstring. He left the match after 45 minutes, replaced by Fujiwara at the half.
Only one change as Bell sits: Centerback Jon Bell, who had played every minute so far in this 2020 season, did not get the starting nod against Fort Lauderdale Friday. Instead, Mendonça, who had proven himself in the back line when Collin Verfurth went down with an injury, slid into that spot. Rivera took Mendonça’s spot in the midfield. Isaac Angking, who was listed as questionable — an upgrade from out — made the bench and had a 14-minute run out.
Nicolas Firmino: Without a doubt, Los Revitos’ field general at the No. 10 with a goal and an assist gets the job done Friday night. And go back and watch how he used his wheels to track all the way back to slow a counter attack, concede the foul, and took a well-earned booking for his trouble, too.
Tiago Mendonça: Go back and watch the clip on Valencia’s goal, and you’ll see Mendonça fail to track him with his head on a swivel. Yup, that happened, and you’ll notice how ticked off at himself, Mendonça was. And you guys know the rules here, we don’t let a moment’s hesitation — even if it ends a shutout streak; a game-winning goal, that’s a different story — effect the full-game performance. The former Providence College Friar had 12 clearances, and added a goal for good measure.
Corner play: With the way both Colby Quinones and Ryan Spaulding played tonight, I would be remiss if I didn’t include them. And to get on the scoresheet with an assist (Quinones) and a goal (Spaulding), yeah. If they were beat, they worked to get back and get into the defensive shape. Really impressed by both of them tonight.
Maciel: He had a rough night, the Brazilian. Two bad giveaways in the first 20 minutes as well as failing to keep his head on a swivel early on led to a threatening moment for Fort Lauderdale. Luckily, it didn’t come back to bite the Revs.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
New England had five shots on-target. Four made it through. The only one that didn’t was a near goal by Malango on a beauty of a feed by Angking. 15 shots total.
38.4 percent of the ball
81 percent passing accuracy
WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS RIGHT NOW
I want to pump the brakes a little bit here. I know there’s a lot of people on the Revs hashtag are who thoroughly enjoying this brand of soccer, and that’s fantastic. Enjoy it. I’m enjoying it. We’ve longed to enjoy high octane soccer here, given the absolute anemia we’ve seen with the first team for the longest time. However, I need to caution you in getting too optimistic: what happens at this level doesn’t necessarily translate to success at the next level, in this case MLS. I told my JV players this last year: what you did in middle school soccer means absolutely nothing at the JV level, and what you do at the JV level means absolutely nothing at the varsity level. What you do in high school means nothing in terms of what you can do in college, and what you do in college means nothing in terms of what you can do in the pros.
Yup, I’m the wet blanket tonight. However, and my BelieveInBostonSports.com colleague Chris Creighton mentioned it a few weeks ago, this team has the opportunity to get into the two-team playoffs should they stay as hot as they are. That would be absolutely amazing, and hopefully the first team will learn about how to score at will from these performances.
It’s the home season finale! Revs II will host defending League One champ North Texas SC next Friday, in the last 7 p.m. ET tilt of the season. Hope to see you there.