Feldman: Vrioni, Revolution trending in the right direction in Leagues Cup
Prior to Wednesday’s match against Liga MX opponent Atlético de San Luis in Leagues Cup group stage play, there were plenty of unknowns for the New England Revolution as the team prepared for an unfamiliar opponent. New England didn’t know much about San Luis or its strengths on the pitch, but it didn’t take long for the Revolution to find out that playing their own game, in addition to a historic performance from one of its strikers, were the keys to the 5-1 victory.
New England radio play-by-play announcer Brad Feldman, the longtime voice of the Revolution, joined D.J. Bean on The Soccer Show to discuss Wednesday’s victory.
“They pounded San Luis into the turf,” Feldman said. “San Luis had some stuff going forward. You could see from the early minutes when they threw the high press on, that their backline did not want the ball. They were doing a really good job counter pressing and breaking, and everybody seemed to have their steps down in unison.”
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the match was forward Giacomo Vrioni’s three-goal performance. Vrioni became the first Revolution player to register a hat trick in international competition.
“It’s a good sign for Giacomo Vrioni because he’s got his confidence back,” Feldman said. “He’s playing the way they want him to play now, and he can do it.”
Feldman also pointed to another key part of Vrioni’s memorable outing- the chemistry the Albanian striker has built with MLS assist leader Carles Gil.
“You can see that Carles likes to play with Giacomo,” Feldman said, “because he checks to the ball at the times he expects, he holds it in a certain way, zips it right back to Carles. And even when they don’t quite get it right, there’s always that eye contact.
“It’s like game recognizes game, and Giacomo’s got game. He’s an international footballer, he was in the Juventus system, he was the leading scorer in a good European league. He plays soccer. He’s not just a guy who’s going to run in behind and bang it.”
Feldman also came away impressed with solid performances from New England’s two new midfielders, Ian Harkes and Mark-Anthony Kaye. Homegrown midfielder Noel Buck also returned to action in his first appearance since June 17.
“I love the Harkes signing,” Feldman said. “I love the Kaye signing. You have [Noel] Buck back. You’ve got a midfield. They’ve upgraded. They’re the No. 2 team out of 29 going into this break and you’ve added three good midfielders.”
With the victory over San Luis, New England punched its ticket to the Leagues Cup Round of 32. The Revolution’s next opponent will be determined following Sunday’s group stage finales. If San Luis defeats the New York Red Bulls on Sunday night, the Revolution will win East 4 group outright.