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Everything you need to know about the Revolution’s 1-0 win over DC United Saturday night, in quickie form:
Revs win home opener, extend streaks over DC in the process: For the first time since 2018, New England has a home opener victory. A 1-nil result in favor of The Boys In Blue was good enough to claim all three points for the first time in 2021, and for it to come against DC United, a team the Revolution can’t seem to lose to right now, the timing was perfect. New England received an own goal to account for the win, which is now the Revs’ fourth straight against DC dating back to last August, and their seventh match against the Black and Red unbeaten since May 25, 2019. Through two matches, New England is now 1-0-1 on the season and is at 4 points with a plus-1 goal difference.
Bye’s cross popped in to account for lone tally: It didn’t take long for New England to get onto the scoreboard following the halftime interval. Three minutes, in fact, and the Revolution recorded an own goal to give the hosts reasons to crank up the music. Brandon Bye’s solid cross from the flank went deep into the 6-yard box, looking to pick out Gustavo Bou. But it was DC’s Brendan Hines-Ike’s late arrival that caused problems for his side, as he knocked in the cross for the own goal, his second in as many weeks.
First half scoreless: A vast improvement from a week ago, to a point, especially in the way New England maintained a good deal of possession in the first half an hour. The play of Christian Mafla, Arnór Traustason, and Wilfrid Kaptoum were certainly big helps, as was the play of Matt Polster in the midfield. Yet DC United was aggressive in holding the Revolution to one shot on-target in the first 45 minutes, a Bou blast off a free kick right at United keeper Chris Seitz. New England had 53 percent of the ball in the first 45, with DC United getting more of a foothold in the match during the last quarter-hour. DC came close to going up a goal to nil in the 34th minute, but Andrew Farrell made a tremendous sliding stop right in front of Matt Turner to keep this one scoreless. DC had two shots, but none on-target.
Three changes from season opener: Bruce Arena made three changes to the starting XI, with two getting their first minutes with the first team while one got his first start. Mafla, who played with Revs II last weekend, started at left back, while Kaptoum, who played with the first team off the bench in Chicago, moved into the No. 6 role in the midfield. Traustason got the start at the No. 7 in his first availability. In addition, the three designated players — Carles Gil, Bou, and Adam Buksa — made their first start together in front of the home fans; Gil was injured in last year’s home opener, which was the last match of either footballs that had fans at Gillette Stadium until last weekend’s Revs II tilt. Polster made his 99th appearance in an MLS match. AJ De La Garza also made his Revs’ debut in the 54th minute.
Matt Polster: A thoroughly improved performance by Polster in the midfield. Last week, he gave away the ball against Chicago too easily; against DC United, he held on to the ball and held up play well. Also go back and watch how he sank back into the back line to help supplement the defending when Brandon Bye played up to defend.
Christian Mafla: Not a bad debut for the Colombian, who really locked down the left side. He was involved in helping to keep the ball in the attacking half, and did well in tracking back. Really, not a bad 54 minutes as he gave way for De La Garza.
Wilfrid Kaptoum: If Mafla had a great debut, Kaptoum had an even better first start in a Revolution shirt… and please inject this into my veins. He showed his quality in his movement, made great turns, and broke the lines with his passing. Evidence of that: Go back and watch him around the 56th minute in how he broke Buksa free. He went 63 minutes out of that No. 8 hole, and when he’s totally fit enough to go 90… phew. Look out.
Revolution offense: Sure, a win is a win is a win, and sure, they were better in possession than they were against Chicago, yada, yada, yada. The possession numbers Saturday wash out. Let’s go to shots: Revs 6, 2 on-target. For the whole match… and one of them was an own goal. Combine that with three shots in the second half against the Fire, with none on-target. We’re not too pleased with that, and no one really should be. And sure, they are connecting. I think Gustavo Bou needed to make better decisions Saturday night. His shots selection, or lack thereof in certain moments, really needed to be better. They’ll get it.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
49.6 percent possession
74.5 percent passing accuracy
63.6 percent passing accuracy in the attacking half
WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS RIGHT NOW
Four out of the first six points on offer? The last time that happened was 2011. Ten years ago. More, please. More of this.
THEY SAID IT
“Just a scrap, and I think the referee allowed too much fouling, and it destroyed the game. A lot of fouling and time-wasting. We’re happy to get the three points; I think we deserve that. We were the better team today, but there was no rhythm in the game when all the fouling and a lot of the confusion going on in the field but whatever. It was a good effort by our team.” — Bruce Arena on Revolution Postgame Live
Another week, another home match! The Revolution will welcome Atlanta United next Saturday, May 1, with kickoff at Gillette slated for 7 p.m. And it’s my birthday weekend, too, so we’re looking forward to it. See you then.