Another week, another win for Bruce Arena’s Revolution. That was a common refrain in 2021, but it’s a phrase the Revs haven’t really had occasion to say in 2022. This is only the second time all season that the Revs have won back to back matches.

It comes at a good time for a New England team that is trying to overcome a slew of injuries and absences and who are still digging themselves out of the hole they dug themselves in the spring.

This game was host to club debuts, milestones and, lest we forget, a 4th consecutive clean sheet. With all that going on, what are the key takeaways from an important home win?

Bruce Hits 100

Bruce Arena coached his 100th regular season game in New England on Saturday. Arena was appointed both Manager and Sporting Director of the club on May 14th 2019. He took over for Brad Friedel and Mike Burns after a 4 game stretch that saw New England go 0-3-1, conceding 17 goals and scoring just 3.

After taking the helm in 2019, he took a club on the brink of disaster and brought them to an unlikely playoff berth. 2020 was filled with injuries, including a long term injury to star Carles Gil. Bruce managed to keep the team afloat and they got hot at the right time, making  a deep postseason run. They beat Montreal, Philadelphia, and Orlando before succumbing to the eventual champion Columbus Crew. Last season, things started falling into place for Arena and the Revs. They would go on to set a single season points record and deliver the first league-wide hardware to Foxborough.

After Saturday’s win, Bruce Arena’s record as manager sits at 46-22-32. At 46% it’s the highest win percentage of any Revs manager in club history. There are many ways in which this season has disappointed Revs fans, but anyone hoping for Arena to be fired is off base, in my opinion.

Young Buck Makes the Most of It

Injuries played a large role in Bruce’s ability to field a lineup over the weekend.  Bruce sent away Jozy Altidore (Puebla) and Sebastian Lletget (FC Dallas) over the summer transfer window, leaving the attacking depth slightly undermanned.  This was exacerbated with both attacking players that he brought into replace them, Vrioni and Tajouri-Shradi, dealing with injuries.  Additionally, attackers Gustavo Bou and Dylan Borrero are still working back from injuries that have kept them sidelined for close to a month.

Last week, we saw Tommy MacNamara play a more attacking role to account for all of those injuries.  This week, his services would be required deeper in midfield, since both D-Mids Matt Polster and Maciel had picked up knocks ahead of Saturday’s matchup.

These are injuries to 5 presumptive starters, possibly 6 depending on what formation the Revs will play when fully healthy.

If there is a benefit to all the absences, it’s that we got a decent look at some of the Revs younger homegrown players.

With Bou and Vrioni injured, we saw homegrown striker Justin Rennicks get his second consecutive start.  Damian Rivera got the start on the wing with Borrero and Tajouri-Shradi injured and the recent departures of Lletger and Traustason.  He would play 63 minutes before being replaced by another homegrown, Noel Buck, who was making his first ever appearance with the first team.

So, did the youngster impress in his debut?

If he continues to hit passes like that, he will have a bright future with the club, and possibly abroad.  It’s a travesty that Gil didn’t score there.

On the whole it’s a solid statistical night for the 17 year old midfielder. He only ended up with 11 touches in 27 minutes played.  He connected on 6 of his 7 passes, and  generated 0.25 xG, while missing his only shot attempt.  It’s promising from the debutant, and I look forward to seeing more.

Doughnuts, All Month Long

Can we all take a moment to appreciate that the Revolution have now strung together 4 consecutive clean sheets?  This is the same team that was floundering at the bottom of the East in goals allowed.  The same team that, for long stretches, lead the league in goals conceded in the final 15 minutes of games.  They’ve seemingly figured out how to tough it out late.

A lot of credit goes to Djordje Petrovic who has been a revelation since his arrival.  He’s on a record setting pace in terms of goal allowed divided by expected goals.  He’s currently allowing only about 59% of the goals that an average keeper would, should they face the same shots. That’s the same as Tyler Deric.  In 2016, he did so in 827 minutes, compared to Petrovic’s 1085.

Something else that helps is that New England has finally gotten some consistency from the back line.  Brandon Bye just eclipsed 10,000 minutes and Jones, Farrell and Kessler have all been excellent in recent weeks.

With Kessler in and out of the lineup in 2022, with various injuries, the Revs have had to rotate their defenders.  This may be the case again this week, since Kessler is reportedly unvaccinated and won’t be able to travel to Canada for the Revs road trips to Toronto and Montreal this week.

Hopefully Andrew Farrell will un-retire to help extend the Revs shutout streak.  It may not be enough.

Photo Credit: MLS IT

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