All you need to know about the Revolution’s 1-0 win over Montreal Impact in the Group C MLS IS BACK Tournament opener Thursday night in quickie form, complete with Bay State Soccer Sentinel insight and analysis:
Revs take all three points in Group C opener: It took a while — about four months and a week or so, given the pandemic — but the Revolution have their first win of 2020, thanks to a 1-0 victory over Montreal Impact in each side’s opener of the MLS IS BACK Tournament. Gustavo Bou did the honors with an absolute stunner, and with the New England defense staying relatively organized, held off Montreal in the waning minutes, with Matt Turner coming up with a neat save in the final minute of second half stoppage time to seal it.
Bou’s goal the difference: The Argentine had a difficult time finding his finish in the first 45 minutes, but he didn’t 11 minutes into the second half. Even though the Revs looked flat-footed in the first nine or so minutes after the re-start, once they got their legs, they were off. And with a neat track back by Cristian Penilla to dispossess L’Impact in the 56th minute, it started a chain reaction of Scott Caldwell finding Carles Gil out on the right flank, all alone with acres of space. He slid it in to Bou, who used a neat touch to put Rod Fanni on his fanny, and blistered a left-footed shot over Clement Diop to put New England ahead — and deservedly so.
A solid first half: Even though it was a scoreless first half, New England owned the first 45 minutes. 51.2 percent possession, and 10 shots by The Boys In Blue with two of those on target. New England had Montreal in total disarray, its counterattacking a big help in stretching L’Impact. Bou had a number of opportunities in the last quarter hour to score, but like we said, was just off with his finishing.
Surprise in the back: With Andrew Farrell missing Thursday’s match with a reported left quad injury, many expected Antonio Delamea to move into the back alongside rookie Henry Kessler. Well, Delamea did get the start… but Kessler didn’t. Instead, that duty went to Michael Mancienne, who put in a solid 66-minute shift. Alexander Büttner made his first start and was a thorn in Orji Okwonkwo‘s side. And we got our first look at the Cristian Penilla-Carles Gil-Adam Buksa-Gustavo Bou quartet in attack, three of those, of course, being the Revs three designated players — the first time in club history that has ever happened.
HOW THE REVS WON THE POINTS
Go back and watch that track back by Penilla. Without it, I don’t think the Revs get that sequence started.
WHO’S HOT, WHO’S NOT
Gustavo Bou: The midseason 2019 acquisition had eight total shots, three of which were on-target. He had the goal, could have had a bunch more.
Kelyn Rowe: Say what one will about an early second-half giveaway, and yes, it was almost costly, but let’s take his whole 90 minutes into account here. Rowe had an engine and a half all night, was in position to potential have a goal, maybe two, and was really all over the place in that No. 8 role.
Matt Turner: He didn’t have much to do in the first 45, held the fort down in the second 45, and came up absolutely aces in the last minute of second-half stoppage time
Adam Buksa: I don’t know if it’s necessarily fair to include him here, but he had an off-night. His timing was a tad off. Not a knock on him, but that will come… hopefully something the attacking players can help him with in training.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
The Revs ended up with 44.3 percent of the ball, after having 56 percent through the first half an hour.
New England finished with an 87 percent passing accuracy for the full game, with 74 percent in the attacking half and 69 percent in the final third.
19 shots taken by the Revolution, with four on target.
Revs also won 57 duels to Montreal’s 39.
WHAT SWEENS THINKS RIGHT NOW
Was that really what we’ve been missing this last decade? The way the Revolution played in the first half with all three DPs getting their opportunities on the ball was something needed with this club through the Jay Heaps Era, and the 18 months of Brad Friedel’s tenure. To get that going Thursday was immense, and it really gave the supporters something to think about.
Really, TUDN? First off, your commentators were an absolute joke. They seemingly didn’t care about either New England or Montreal; when the color commentator brought up Bou’s nickname, the play-by-play man asked, “The Panther? Why?” DO SOME HOMEWORK. Secondly, the crowd noise was awful. And when New England had OWNED the game through an hour, you don’t say that they haven’t played well. And to top it all off, your Twitter stream — and that’s a whole other argument that I won’t waste kilobytes over — cut out with two minutes left to go in the game. Are you serious?
The Revs will be back to training this weekend as they prepare for their second match day in the tournament, which will be against DC United next Thursday night. Be there with bells on.