Everything you need to know about the Revolution’s scoreless draw with Philadelphia Thursday night in quickie form, complete with Bay State Soccer Sentinel insight and analysis:
Another game, another draw: It feels like it’s a broken record right now, but Thursday’s scoreless draw between the Revolution and Philadelphia Union was New England’s third consecutive draw in league play — the knockout stage loss to DOOP was not considered part of league play — and second straight goalless draw after closing out Group C with the double bagels against Toronto FC. New England had 15 shots, with only one on-target, and have now gone 309 minutes without a goal since Adam Buksa’s tally against DC United in the group stages.
Bou, Buksa miss two late chances: In the latter stages, a neat, well-weighted ball from Matt Polster to Gustavo Bou had the Argentine in on net, but Philadelphia defender Jack Elliot — playing on a yellow — made a just-in-time sliding stop in the penalty area to keep the game scoreless. And two minutes later, Buksa, on a cross from late sub Justin Rennicks, missed the goal well wide. Either of those opportunities could have given the Revs three points. And in second-half stoppage time, we have to credit Andrew Farrell for his well-timed sliding stop on Warren Creavalle in the box after a turnover by Tajon Buchanan.
Revs creative but can’t make the onion bag burp in the first half: We mentioned in Soccer Weekend that we hoped the Revolution spent the last three weeks in working on their attack, and in the first half, it showed that they did. There was creativity that lacked in Orlando… but no goals despite one seven shots with one on-target, that one by Bou that forced Andre Blake to make a big save. 48 percent possession was the tally for the Revs in the first 45 minutes. Philadelphia had two shots on-target, with Matt Turner making the saves look easy.
Polster makes Revs debut: June signing Matt Polster made his Revolution debut Thursday, after he was unavailable during the MLS IS BACK Tournament. Farrell supplanted Wellesley native Chris Tierney with his 220th start, putting him into fourth place all-time in the club record books; Diego Fagundez also supplanted Tierney as he made his 246th overall appearance. In addition, Teal Bunbury got the start, his 275th in MLS. In all, there were three changes from the July 25 knockout round game against this same Union side as Henry Kessler replaced Antonio Delamea, who did not even make the bench Thursday, Polster for the departed Wilfried Zahibo, and Bunbury on for Tajon Buchanan. Richie Williams was the gaffer in place of Bruce Arena, who sat out with a suspension following his red card in the early morning hours of July 26.
Revs attack: The absolute relentlessness, the never-say-die attitude — especially in the first 45 minutes — was really impressive. There was one sequence where Kelyn Rowe appeared as if he took off on a trampoline to win a 50/50 ball and got it over to Cristian Penilla, who did a crazy back heel to free himself. Bou broke Ray Gaddis’ ankles not once, but twice in consecutive touches. We liked their aggressiveness, especially in the first 20 minutes. More of this.
Defending: Really heads-up defending by Andrew Farrell in the latter stages, and some really, really, reeeeeally good play out of Henry Kessler.
Revs attack: I don’t think we should mince words here. 309 minutes without a goal, and only one shot on-target, is pretty unacceptable in top flight soccer. That’s now six shots on-target in the last two games with Philly, with 33 shots total. Add in the Toronto game: 43 shots total, eight on-target. Add in DC: 61 shots, 13 on-target. Three draws, one defeat, 21 percent shooting accuracy. Just about one in every five shots is on target. It just needs to be better, folks.
Adam Buksa: We’ll highlight Buksa here, not just for the late miss. We’ll be fair and say that Philly played him tighter than a Ziplock bag defensively, but he only broke free of the pressure once that we noted — and that was the shot he missed badly on. We’re expecting him to make better off the ball runs, or at the very least, hold up play better with his height and size and set up his teammates with crisp passes.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
52.6 percent possession for the night.
Two missed chances registered.
Philadelphia registered 36 clearances.
Revs with an 82 percent passing accuracy, 72 percent in the final third. Polster had 58 accurate passes for an 89 percent passing accuracy.
WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS RIGHT NOW
With a short turnaround, what does Arena do on his return to the technical area? Does he switch a few things up in terms of personnel? And in that vein, I think I’d like to see more of Justin Rennicks out there to see what he can really do with more than just 5-10 minutes on his legs at a time.
THEY SAID IT
“It was a positive performance, but we’re disappointed. I felt we were the better team in all aspects of the game, and again, at the end of the day we just can’t put the ball in the net at this point. We’ve created enough chances, we’re solid in the midfield, good defensively. We just got to find our way through this stretch here where we just can’t get a kick in the goal.” — Revolution interim coach Richie Williams on Revolution Postgame Live
It’s a quick turnaround as the Revolution return to action on Tuesday — yup, Tuesday — night as they travel to the District to take on DC United at Audi Field. Kick-off is pinned for 7 p.m. over most of these same stations.