MLS New England Revolution

Match Report: Philadelphia 2, Revolution 0 — Revs flat, finish regular season in eighth place in the East

Everything you need to know about the Revolution’s 2-0 loss to Philadelphia Union Sunday afternoon in quickie form:

THE SKINNY

Revs neutralized, Union take the Supporter’s Shield: On an afternoon where the Revolution could not be flat — and on national television, to boot — they were flat. On an afternoon where the Revolution could have maintained sixth position in the Eastern Conference by just showing up, they didn’t show up. And with all three DPs on the pitch for most of the 90 minutes for the first time since July, all three DPs weren’t that effective against the Union defense. Philadelphia, which won for the ninth time out of nine home matches in 2020, claimed the Supporter’s Shield for the first time and earned its first major trophy with the 2-0 win over the Revolution. The loss, the fourth loss for New England against the Union this season, coupled with other results, dropped the Revs to eighth in the East and forces The Boys In Blue to play the Play-In Round.

Burke slams the door: Six minutes after entering the match in place of first-half goal scorer Sergio Santos, it was Cory Burke who thumped the Union home. Jose Martinez had won the ball after two of his Philadelphia teammates made an Adam Buksa sandwich, raced in, and crossed. Burke edged beyond Andrew Farrell and put the exclamation point on the Supporter’s Shield in the 69th minute.

Santos puts Union ahead: Philadelphia asserted its presence through most of the first half hour, but it was, in all honesty, a rather drab first half for both teams, with the Union having the only shot on-target in the first 45 minutes. That came after a volley that caromed off the woodwork, and with Matt Turner in a dive, Santos popped the rebound in to put Philadelphia ahead, 1-nil, in the 42nd minute. New England had about 47 percent of the ball, but really did nothing with it: the Revs had three shots, none on-target — all were blocked, it should be noted — in the first half.

All three DPs get the start: All three of the Revolution were on the pitch last Sunday for the first time since July, but the situation against DC United in the home finale was a touch different — Gustavo Bou had come on at the half, and Carles Gil left after 70. Buksa went the whole way. This weekend, Bruce Arena had all three in the starting XI for the first time since July 17. Bou replaced Tommy McNamara in the XI, with Brandon Bye replacing DeJuan Jones at right back for his first start in over a month. Diego Fagundez, who made the bench, did not sub on and remains in a tie for first in appearances with 261, which cannot be broken in the playoffs. If it is broken, it will be in 2021. Seth Sinovic made his first appearance of 2020.

WHO’S HOT

None: Come on. The Revolution were completely out-played.

WHO’S NOT

Defending on Santos’ goal: While the defending was pretty decent in the first half, it was that moment on Santos’ goal where they were just flat-footed, caught napping, and paid for it.

The midfield play: Last week against DC, the midfield was invisible in the first 45 minutes. This week, the midfield was invisible for 90. Sure, the Revs had 57 percent of the ball. What did they do with it?

LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY

78 percent passing accuracy

9 shots, one on-target, a header by Kelyn Rowe — in the 85th minute

TWO THINGS SWEENS REALLY THINKS RIGHT NOW

If this is what we’re going to get against the best team in the league, I don’t think the Revolution will be in the playoffs for long. They might get through the play-in round. With the way they played Sunday, that feels doubtful.

Let’s break this down:

2015 — Fifth in the East (playoffs)
2016 — Seventh in the East
2017 — Seventh in the East
2018 — Seventh in the East
2019 — Seventh in the East (playoffs)
2020 — Eighth in the East (playoffs)

Granted, 2019’s seventh in the East is a good thing, given how the team started. And sure, in 2020 you had three different starts to the season, and all three DPs didn’t necessarily have their best seasons (Gil hurt, Bou not in his best position at times, Buksa out of form for most of the year). But we cannot use any of those as an excuse. This team is just average. It’s okay to admit that. We need others to admit it, too.

ON TAP

Playoffs, baby. Yay? New England is slated to play Montreal in the Play-In Round on Friday, Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m.