HOUSTON – The foundation for Saturday night’s victory over the Houston Dynamo was laid on the training ground and in the film room in the days leading up to the match.
Head coach Jay Heaps and his staff pored over video of previous Dynamo games in order to devise a strategy for the New England Revolution’s visit to BBVA Compass Stadium. The players absorbed the information throughout the week and then executed the desired approach to perfection in an impressive 2-0 victory.
“From the start, Jay gave us a game plan,” said Clyde Simms. “We’ve been talking about it all week. They did a lot of research on this team and we were well prepared for this game. Credit to the coaching staff for getting us ready and we did a good job implementing the game plan.”
The plan called for the Revs to employ a high pressure approach from the opening whistle, something the Dynamo isn’t used to dealing with at home. Rather than soak up pressure and try to hit on the counterattack – which tends to be a popular approach on the road – the Revs wanted to be on the front foot from the start.
The approach had the desired effect, particularly in the early stages as the Revs garnered a significant advantage in the possession department through the opening 45 minutes.
“We wanted to come in and try to play in their end,” said Simms. “We all thought that a lot of teams come in here and sit in because [Houston’s] a very good team and deserves a lot of respect. But I think a lot of teams come in and respect them a little too much.
“We wanted to kind of throw them off a bit and I think we did that. We did a good job of that early in the game, kind of tried to pin them in a bit.”
Simms played a major role in executing the game plan as he made his first appearance in more than a month. Although the original plan called for the veteran to play 60-70 minutes in his return, a first-half red card to Dimitry Imbongo and an early injury to Ryan Guy threw a wrench in those plans. Simms ended up playing the full 90 minutes in the Houston heat and although he claimed to be dragging by the final whistle, he still earned well-deserved plaudits from his head coach.
“Clyde was awesome tonight,” said Heaps. “He ran as hard as he could, as fast as he could the entire match. You take your hat off to a player like that. He hasn’t played 90 in a while. We were just excited to get him in this type of game. The idea was to really high pressure and try to win the ball a lot in midfield. Clyde did an excellent job of that.”