The MLS Cup Final was a strange game for the New England Revolution, as we didn’t really see them get out of first gear too often. As a result, they lost in extra-time to the LA Galaxy for the third time in three finals between the clubs.
Charlie Davies was in fine form after good displays in the previous playoff rounds, scoring four, including that crucial brace against the New York Red Bulls.
His regular season form wasn’t much to go on (3 goals in 18 games), with Lee Nguyen the main outlet of goals for the Revs, which is why he was a surprise package in the playoffs.
As we predicted in our MLS Cup Final preview, he was a player who LA Galaxy would need to keep an eye on, but it wasn’t too difficult a task in the end. The Revs didn’t really have an outlet up top until Patrick Mullins replaced Davies, so Galaxy defenders Leonardo and Omar Gonzalez had little to worry about.
A major factor of his poor performance has to be the low-key display in general from the Revs, but more importantly Lee Nguyen. Without Nguyen pulling the strings and having the Galaxy defence committing to him, Davies was unable to find any free space in behind.
Davies showed in the previous ties he was reacting well to half chances and thrived on the counter-attack – something else we didn’t see too much of from New England in the final.
Davies had one good chance on the break in the first-half but his lack of pace cost him as AJ DeLaGarza raced back in time to make a key tackle, and they may have unsettled the Revs forward.
It has to be said that the Galaxy defence put in a really strong performance. Leonardo and Gonzalez led by example and did not give Davies an inch.
Anytime he was successful in a duel, the result of the hold up play ended up with the Galaxy quickly regaining possession.
The substitution of Patrick Mullins came at the perfect time for the Revs as the game was beginning to be stretched as they pushed for the equaliser. This in turn created more space in the final third, something Davies couldn’t utilise due to the game being tight before he was brought off.
Mullins wasn’t afraid to run the channels, and that is what earned the goal for New England as the rookie then found Chris Tierney, who fired in the precious equaliser.
Despite a difficult performance, the Revs will be happy with Davies’s progression and they have protected him ahead of the upcoming MLS Expansion Draft.
We can expect to see New England challenging on all fronts next campaign and more from Davies will be expected throughout the 2015 season.
Why did Charlie Davies struggle against the LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup Final?