...the skillful cynicism Nicol brings to the playoffs, especially with the talent he has, frankly has met its just end in all his three MLS Cup finals.Other Revolution fans have occasionally voiced frustration with Stevie Nicol's playing philosophy. He emphasizes defense first, work ethic over flair, and winning over running up the score. In the playoffs, this becomes really obvious - for the Revolution's away game at New York, their objective was "finish 90 minutes without having conceded a goal". This frustrates fans who want to see high-scoring games, but it suits me just fine. Here's my reply to the Houston Chronicle blogger:
Ah yes - that maddening style of anti-soccer that earned the Revolution a 3-3 draw the last time they played Houston!I'll add two things. First, the "work ethic before flair" style is what Stevie Nicol knows from playing for Liverpool for fifteen years (masters of the 1-0 win in the 1980s ) and from the Scottish National Team (they are not Brazil). Second, after losing in the MLS Cup final three times in the last five years (all in overtime or on penalty kicks), this season the Revolution are determined to win the Cup any way they can. Emphasizing defense is the natural reaction to losing the Cup by conceding a goal when you were six minutes away from winning it.
As a Revolution fan, I agree that I'd rather see the Revs score more goals. But to say that the MLS Cup finals that the Revs have been in were "dragged down into the muck" is wrong - first of all, cup finals are usually tactical matchups because neither team can lose - that's just the way it goes. Second, six out of eight of the first round results were either 1-0 or 0-0 - not all of us get to score bags of goals against the 2nd string Dallas defense. Nicol's style is to build a solid team from the back forward and to have players that work really hard for 90 minutes. It's not 'anti-soccer', it's British soccer. We can't all be Brazilians.
Besides, in choosing between nail-biting 1-0 victories and complete blowouts like Liverpool's recent 8-0 destruction of Besiktas, as a neutral I'd rather watch a game that could still go either way. Although if the Revs blow out Houston/KC, I won't complain!
The MLS Cup final is Sunday, November 18th, at RFK Stadium in DC. The Revs will be there. I will be there. Houston might be there - we'll know in a few hours whether it's them or Kansas City.