Everything you need to know about the Revolution’s 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union in the MLS IS BACK Tournament’s Round of 16 in quickie form, complete with Bay State Soccer Sentinel insight and analysis:
Revs bounced from MLS IS BACK Tourney as their offensive woes continue: New England’s stay in Central Florida came to an end just after 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning, as it fell to Philadelphia, 1-nil. The Revolution had difficulty — as it has all season — in scoring goals, as they had 18 shots but only five on goal, with the Union’s defense blocking five. The other eight shots saw the Revs pulling them wide or high after pulling the trigger too early. Since Adam Buksa’s goal against DC United more than a week ago, New England has now gone 219 minutes without a goal; if we include Revs II’s scoreless performance earlier Saturday, the soccer side of Patriot Place is now at 309 minutes without a goal, still with only four goals scored in 2020. Philly now moves on to the quarters to play either Sporting Kansas City or Vancouver.
Santos’ final touch the difference: He had been knocking on the door with his movement and positioning all night, but with his final touch of the night, Sergio Santos represented the difference in Orlando as he buried a Jamiro Monteiro service beyond Matt Turner and into the net. Two breakdowns by the Revs — a poor pass between Gustavo Bou and Tajon Buchanan, and a late reaction by Brandon Bye — were the issues here, even though we’ll give full marks to Santos for the finish.
Arena red carded after final whistle: After the match came to its conclusion, Revolution head coach Bruce Arena was red carded for what was reported as verbally abusing the officials. Arena did not speak with the media on the Zoom call afterward. He will serve a suspension when the MLS regular season reconvenes.
Arena shuffles the deck again: Five changes to the Revs’ XI Saturday night. Alexander Büttner and Antonio Delamea took over the left-hand side of the back line in place of DeJuan Jones and Henry Kessler, while Wilfried Zahibo — who gave a bit of bite Tuesday as a sub — slid into the No. 8 role in place of Scott Caldwell. Diego Fagundez sat in place of Bou, while Cristian Penilla was in place of Teal Bunbury. Buchanan also made his second consecutive start.
Kelyn Rowe: Without question, if there’s a bright spot for New England Saturday, it’s the play of No. 11. Rowe’s never-say-die attitude — get beat, keep going until you win the move — was something that stuck out at me through the first 20 minutes or so. For him to follow up an hour against Toronto where he wasn’t necessarily his sharpest that he’s been in the tournament to going the full 90 at the No. 6 — and then filling Wilfried Zahibo’s spot when he was subbed out — is telling. This young man is hungry to prove something; we’ve said that since the beginning of the season.
Tajon Buchanan: If Rowe was outstanding, and he was, Buchanan was worrisome. And while we’ll give him credit for creating an opportunity or two, a couple moments of near-brilliance does not salvage sloppy touches.
Brandon Bye: For all we’ve said about soccer IQ and outstanding performances by Brandon Bye, he was not sharp. Colleague Tom Benedetto from Boston Sports Journal had Bye with four giveaways in the first 20 minutes of the game, and he had a late reaction on Santos’ goal.
Offensive unit: This is a problem, gang. Five shots on-target tonight. Two on-target against Toronto on Tuesday. Five shots on-target against DC with one in. 219 minutes since the last goal. The problem isn’t that this team is missing Carles Gil; the problem is that some wayward alligator has munched on their shooting and scoring boots. You can’t score if you’re not challenging the goalkeeper, you can’t score when you’re rushing your shots. We’ll tip the cap toward Philly’s defending, too. They were positioned well to stop the Revs at practically every turn.
Gustavo Bou: When your $7 million record signing can’t score, is expected to play some semblance of defense in lieu of no Gil, and gives up a bad pass turnover that leads to the match-winning goal, that’s not a good night.
Player Management (Again): Concerning that Arena only made two substitutions in a match that screamed for some influence from other players, like a Fagundez, an Isaac Angking, or a Justin Rennicks. Seriously, a head-scratching move.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
Philadelphia had 12 shots, five on-target… with one goal. It also had 51.7 percent possession.
Opta had the Revs down for one missed chance.
The Revs also had 55 duels won.
With the exception of Arena’s straight red, no one was cautioned or sent off.
Both New England and Philadelphia recorded 76 percent passing accuracy: the Revs on 345 passes, the Union on 383.
Adam Buksa had five shots with two on-target.
WHAT SWEENS THINKS RIGHT NOW
Even though there’s upward of 28 players on this team’s roster — the most the Revs have had in years — this team just isn’t as deep as one would expect.
Honestly, I understand the anger about only four minutes of stoppage time added on at the end of the match, especially with seven subs made, a goal, and a hydration break. But the corner after Ray Gaddis headed that last free kick over just as Ismail Elfath blew the full time whistle… did you think the Revs would put the ensuing corner service on goal? No, stick a fork in the match. It was done.
At the moment, we’re on hiatus until we get the official word from Major League Soccer for when the league will resume after the tournament. We’re expecting, thanks to Sam Stejskal’s reporting for The Athletic, that the league will return in mid-August.