MLS New England Revolution

MLS Cup Playoffs Match Report: Revolution 2, Montreal 1 — Bou’s banger lifts Revs to critical postseason win

Everything you need to know about the Revolution’s 2-1 win over Montreal Impact in the MLS Cup Playoffs Friday evening, in quickie form:

THE SKINNY

Revs break one streak, keep another going: It’s been well documented that New England hasn’t won a soccer playoff game since the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals. Six years, a rather long time. That was also the last home game for the Revs at this stage of the season, and The Boys In Blue have a pretty good — nay, excellent — record at Gillette in the playoffs: coming into Friday night, New England was unbeaten in its last 12, 9-0-3. Make that unbeaten in their last 13, as the Revolution knocked off Montreal Impact, 2-1, at the death. The Revs move on.

Bou’s blast in second-half stoppage time the winner: Montreal had pulled level at the hour mark thanks to Romell Quioto’s header, and in the last quarter hour, the Revs knocked on the door of Clement Diop’s net to no avail — until the last minute of five minutes minimum of stoppage time. Gustavo Bou had the honors with 25 yards away, a curling thunder strike that had Diop frozen, and that gives New England the win.

Gil opens scoring, stakes Revs to lead at half: Not a bad time to open one’s account for 2020. Carles Gil, still finding his footing off Achilles surgery, scored his first of the season with a brilliant one-timer off a pass by Bou, to put New England ahead, 1-nil, in the 38th minute. It’s a goal that had been coming, as the Revs had over 60 percent of the ball and had shelled Diop, who we must tip the cap to for an outstanding effort. He couldn’t stop Gil, though, as the Spaniard drove it in, unmarked, from 12 yards away. Two minutes later, a Bou-to-Adam Buksa try went straight to Diop off the Pole’s noggin, a good opportunity to give the Revs a two-goal lead headed into the break.

Buchanan leaves early in the second half: He had been having a stellar match through 50 minutes, making Montreal’s Jorge Corrales look rather foolish in the first half. But Tajon Buchanan went down with a suspected knee injury in the 50th, ending his night. He walked off under his own power and headed straight for the trainer’s room.

Several notable absences in Revs’ XI: It wasn’t hard to see who Bruce Arena left out, whether for tactical reasons on the chance to put in other players with the short turnaround to the Eastern Conference quarters, or for other reasons, but there were several notable absences. Alexander Büttner and Brandon Bye did not make the match day squad, with DeJuan Jones in at left back with Buchanan moving back to right back. There was no Diego Fagundez in the squad, either. A total of three changes from Decision Day to the Play-in game, as Matt Polster and Tommy McNamara moved into the defensive midfield. Who notably made the squad? That would be Justin Rennicks, fresh off his partial season with Revolution II.

WHO’S HOT

DP troika: Yes, we’re putting Adam Buksa up here, too, as he had two outstanding efforts at goal on sharp headers. But definitely Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou get the credit they deserve on their goals, both coming with plenty of space around them.

Tajon Buchanan: Tough to see Tajon, who has had an immense second half of 2020 in his sophomore campaign, go down the way he did. The hope, of course, is that it’s not serious.

WHO’S NOT

Tommy McNamara: Tommy Mac had a hard game, coming up with a caution for a bad foul on Bojan Krkic, as well as a couple of giveaways.

Teal Bunbury: The team leader in goals in 2020 had difficulty against Montreal in 1-v-1 situations, and missed a brilliant chance to end the game in the 75th minute.

LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY

25 shots, 9 on-target

65.8 percent of the ball

88 percent passing accuracy

9 corners

2 missed chances

WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS RIGHT NOW

Let’s pretend Bou’s goal doesn’t happen. It wouldn’t have been out of the realm of possibility that Montreal scores in extra time; heck, what if Matt Turner didn’t stop Matt Polster’s near own goal in the first minute of stoppage time? That would be pretty much on brand for New England. But that was an absolute killer goal, and now Montreal has time to rest and recover ahead of the CONCACAF Champions League in December.

I liked what we saw in that first half an hour by the Revs and the way they controlled the tempo. The movement of Gil and Bou and leaving them unmarked, Montreal simply paid for that.

THEY SAID IT

“We were fortunate. We scored a great goal. Our two goals were very good, and I’m proud of our team; this are what playoff games look like, you have to deal with the highs and lows during the game and I think we hung in there pretty well, kept our composure, and scored a great goal at the end of the game.” — Bruce Arena

“We have to get a scouting report on Philadelphia; we’re not that familiar with them.” — Bruce Arena

ON TAP

Thanks to Nashville SC’s 3-nil win over Inter Miami later Friday night, it means the Revs will play top-seeded Philadelphia… again… in the quarterfinal round. Kick-off is slated for 8 p.m. Tuesday in Chester.