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The Revolution returned to action on Saturday, to a less than sold out crowd, for their 2022 home opener.  Chances were tough to come by for both teams, though the Revs did manage to take all 3 points on the back of a Carles Gil penalty kick.  New England produced slightly better numbers than Dallas in the attack, but there wasn’t a ton of high quality possession for either side, as is clear when looking at the game flow chart.

The chart uses a “goals added” possession model, with longer bars representing possession with better odds to score.  There were a few solid chances for both teams, but neither really strung together a truly dangerous stretch. There are still moments to analyze of course.  Here are 3 such moments, one good, one bad and one ugly!

The Good:

I thought about choosing Revs babies here.  Earlier in the week Shalrie Joseph announced the birth of his son.  Matt Polster walked in pre-game with his new daughter.  Meanwhile Matt Turner and his girlfriend did a live gender reveal after the game with the entire team.  Carles Gil also made a pregnancy announcement after his PK, choosing the classic ball under the shirt celebration.  It seemed like Bou learned this the same day we all did.

In reality though, the best thing that happened for the Revs on Saturday was just getting the win.  Get 3 points, keep a clean sheet, get out. With a truncated pre-season and a CCL match on the near horizon, a win helps build more than just fitness.  The Revs hadn’t won an MLS game since last October, so getting the first one under the belt was important.

The Bad:

This brings us to the unfortunate part of the column.  Henry Kessler returned from injury this weekend after missing the season opener in Portland, only to leave this match early with an injury.  Unfortunately, while Carles was lining up to take his penalty kick in first half stoppage, Kessler was on the ground well behind the play receiving treatment for his hamstring.  He wouldn’t return to the field, leaving the Revs shorthanded for a few minutes to close out the half.  Bruce indicated that it’s not considered serious, but that he will miss some games.

This will likely put Omar Gonzalez back into the starting lineup for the foreseeable future.  Gonzalez entered in the second half and helped New England earn the victory.  He even made a critical clearance in the 72nd minute to keep a clean sheet.  He will need to continue to improve and gel with his teammates with a two-legged bout against Pumas UNAM beginning on Wednesday.

The Ugly:

This bit of defending here:

It’s another instance of the Revs failing to put pressure to the ball in the center of the pitch.  New England had issues defending the quick one touch passing from central channels in the playoffs last season, as well as in preseason and last week against Portland.  I wrote last week about how with a wide diamond midfield there’s space to beat the Revs centrally.  That remained true, though less so, this week even while playing a narrower formation.  It will need to get cleaned up if the Revs want to compete for trophies this season.

Bonus Ugly:

Shoutout to Ted Unkel for having a clear view of this play and requiring VAR to see the penalty.

Ted Unkel watches the foul on Carles Gil before waving play. Also looks like he has laser eyes.

 

 Photo credit: mlssoccer.com
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