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Healthy Effort, But Healthy For Soccer?

The Boston Globe's headline to New England's Eastern Conference semifinal playoff first leg 0-0 tie with the Chicago Fire was careful not to go over the top: Effort Was Quite Healthy. Monique Walker's introductory paragraph cites the game's "several hard tackles, shoves, calls, and noncalls" that ultimately gave the Revs a "satisfactory" result on Thursday evening. But whether you saw the game or not, the subtext is clear -- it stank.

Still, there's no doubting that given the Revs' current injury and suspension crisis, it was a result of sorts. "It was good for us," claimed defender Jay Heaps. "We didn't know exactly what we were going to do tonight, except that we were going to come out and play with some heart. I think we did well." The Revs could approach the return game "with confidence."

"We finished the season overthinking when we were playing, basically," said coach Steve Nicol. "We decided to get rid of that and just go out and play -- be committed. When you get a chance to pass the ball, pass the ball. When you have to be strong, be strong. We did that."

In our view, it would certainly be foolish to write off the Revs before the second leg, even though the currently in-form Fire outscored them 9-1 in regular season play this season. And Nicol's too canny a coach to aim for attack when his three first-choice forwards are out injured. But cheerleaders for the playoff format and anyone hoping for attractive, positive soccer for the purposes of mass entertainment may want to look away when the two teams meet again next Thursday. When one team's playing for penalties, the product ain't pretty.

 

 

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