MLS New England Revolution

Match Report: Revolution 2, Atlanta United 1 — Revs earn first-ever win over the Five Stripes to remain unbeaten in 2021

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Everything you need to know about the Revolution’s 2-1 win over 10-man Atlanta United FC Saturday night, in quickie form:

THE SKINNY

Revs stay unbeaten through three with historic win over Atlanta United: It’s been a decade — 2011 was the last time it happened — but New England’s soccer sons are unbeaten in their first three games of a Major League Soccer season. Not only that, it’s the first time since 2017 the Revs have won the first two home games of the season. And to add to the celebratory mood, Saturday night was the first time the Revolution have ever defeated Atlanta United, and did it in front of the home fans to a tune of a 2-1 score line. New England is now 2-0-1 with 7 points in 2021.

Gil breaks the duck, scores from the spot: After a few games of shooting off-target and failing to find the back of the net, Carles Gil stutter-stepped up to the penalty spot and faked out Brad Guzan in the 53rd minute, scoring the penalty to put the Revs ahead, 2-1. Emerson Hyndmann had fouled Tajon Buchanan at the top of the penalty area, and at first, referee Chris Penso called for a free kick — until VAR took a look at it; Penso pointed to the spot. Atlanta would put on both Josef Martinez and Ezequiel Barco in the 72nd minute, but only Josef played the remainder of the match. Barco went off with an injury in the 80th, forcing the Five Stripes to play with 10 men.

Bye scores, Bye gives Atlanta a chance: A pretty wild first half in Foxborough. The Revolution had a solid amount of the ball in the first 25 minutes or so, with a massive flurry that could have resulted in more than one goal between minute Nos. 15-18. But it wasn’t until a sweet switching of the point of the attack by Andrew Farrell to Gil feeding Brandon Bye, who headed it in beyond Guzan to give the Revs a deserved 1-0 lead in the 19th minute. And while there were more chances for the hosts, nothing was substantive. Atlanta equalized after Bye made contact with a Five Stripes attacker in the box, the attacker went down, and Marcelino Moreno scored the spot kick in the 43rd minute to take a 1-1 halftime score into intermission.

Bou out, Maciel makes debut: Much like last week, Bruce Arena made three changes to the XI Saturday. Christian Mafla returned to the bench while DeJuan Jones, fresh off his red card suspension for the home opener, moved into his spot at left back. Maciel made his American top flight debut Saturday in place of Wilfrid Kaptoum, who returned to the bench. The third change saw Tajon Buchanan move into the XI in place of Gustavo Bou, who picked up a knock. Matt Polster’s start marked his 100th appearance in Major League Soccer, and Andrew Farrell’s start, his 239th, moved him past Jay Heaps into third by his lonesome for most starts in team history. Atlanta had a number of its big guns — Martinez, Barco, George Bello, and Arlington’s Miles Robinson — on the bench to start the match, as the Five Stripes play Philadelphia in the CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday.

WHO’S HOT

Carles Gil: A goal and an assist for El Capitan, who had 92 touches as well as a few scoring opportunities of his own. Add in the fact he was a touch freer tonight thanks to Penso cautioning an Atlanta player for aggressive fouling on him, and that made an incredible difference in the way the offense moved forward.

Tajon Buchanan: A really solid output on touches and his work rate in his first start in Gustavo Bou’s place. And drawing the match-winning penalty… someone had to do it.

Matt Polster: The second straight week he’s in the hot category. Dispossession a-plenty, and he even tried to score a couple of times.

Brandon Bye: I know a lot of people will scratch their heads at this given he surrendered the penalty, but remember our rules here — we don’t let a moment’s weakness spoil a rather sneaky good game. He had the opening goal and played some great defense, dispossessing and keeping Atlanta honest. He just made a bad foul at a bad moment. Besides, it’s Week Three. Settle down.

WHO’S NOT

DeJuan Jones: A little sloppy at times, just like he was against Chicago. He’s got to clean that up if he wants to retain that left back slot.

LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY

44.4 percent possession on the evening

14 shots, 6 on-target; 4 shots, 1 on-target in the second half

81.1 percent passing accuracy

Revs defense had four blocked shots

WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS RIGHT NOW

An absolutely phenomenal win. Sure, there were a couple of scary moments, such as Bye’s foul and the fact the offense really didn’t harass Brad Guzan as much as they should have, or as strong as they should have. But all in all, a really good win.

Now, is it a statement win? I don’t truly think so. You don’t have Josef Martinez on the pitch, you don’t have Barco on the pitch, either for very long; George Bello played most as an early sub, and Miles Robinson came on in the second half. Now if the Revolution bury a few more chances and turned absolutely ruthless like they were in 2017, then I think we can really call Saturday a statement win.

THEY SAID IT

“Well, both halves were to my liking. You have two good teams playing, and they play, and you see the difference between playing this opponent and the one last week, and Atlanta really raised our level of play. They really pushed us, and two teams getting after it, moving the ball. I thought it was a great show.” — Bruce Arena on Revolution Postgame Live

ON TAP

It’s an afternoon affair in Nashville next Saturday, as the Revolution will head to Tennessee to take on Nashville SC beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET. We’ll see you all then.

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