Everything you need to know about the Revolution’s 2-0 win over Philadelphia Union in the MLS Cup Playoffs Tuesday night, in quickie form:
New England finally dumps a rusty DOOP, advances to Eastern Conference semis: What a time to get that first dub of the season against the one team — the one damned team — that has been a thorn in their side throughout all of 2020. After 450 minutes of playing Philadelphia and not coming up with the victory, the final 90 minutes — the sixth time these two sides have squared off — sees New England claim the W, all to move on in the MLS Cup Playoffs. A pair of first-half goals mere minutes apart was enough to win the match, with the Revs’ defending easily holding a lackluster Union side that hasn’t played since knocking off these same Revolution players, 2-nil, on Decision Day to win the Supporter’s Shield 16 days prior.
Revs take 2-nil lead into the break: After Jamiro Monteiro missed an early sitter for Philadelphia — Brendan Aaronson had motored around Scott Caldwell and crossed, with Monteiro skying the ball from the top of the 6-yard box — the second 15-minute section saw the pitch tilt toward the River End and Andre Blake’s goal. And with the Union looking rather unsharp, the Revolution needed to take advantage… and they did so twice. Adam Buksa scored the opener after Carles Gil was fouled (and if we’re being fair, there were two penalty opportunities for the Revs not awarded in the sequence just before that free kick) and sent the service into the box, Buksa scoring off the header from behind former Boston College man Alejandro Bedoya in the 26th minute. And just before the half hour mark, Tajon Buchanan drove in and, after a poor touch by left back Kai Wagner in closing down, Buchanan stayed with it and drove it beyond a flat-footed Blake to make it 2-nil.
One change: Bruce Arena only made one swap-out from Friday, as Caldwell replaced Tommy McNamara in the XI. Buchanan reclaimed his spot in the starting lineup following his removal from Friday’s game. Outside of that, it was situation normal. For the Union, Blake was back in goal, replacing Harvard product Matt Freese from Decision Day.
Carles Gil: Two assists for the Spaniard tonight puts him at four on the season. He’s barely played 600 minutes this season.
Tajon Buchanan: We thought the worst when Buchanan went down Friday night, and we had every right to think that; it did not look good. But the way Tajon motored in on Gil’s pass — and really, what crappy defending out of Wagner there — and really caught Blake in an Oh Bleep moment before he pounded it into the net… that’s what veterans far older than he would do.
The defending: Solid, solid defending from top to bottom. Everyone got involved in the team defending. Obviously kudos to the center back pairing of Henry Kessler and Andrew Farrell for leading the way, and the job of Scott Caldwell tonight….stands and claps
No one: Come on, don’t be daft.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
11 shots, 4 on-target; one shot on-target in the second half
41.7 percent possession; down from 45.8 percent at the half
74 percent passing accuracy
Revs won 62 duels to the Union’s 59
Scott Caldwell had only two missed passes
WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS RIGHT NOW
I went on WPKZ in Fitchburg last week and said, no, there’s no way the Revs, if they get by Montreal that they beat Philadelphia. Not happening, no way, no how. And yes, I’m wearing some serious egg on my face right now… it is the tastiest raw egg I’ve ever had before.
If you’re Philadelphia coach Jim Curtin, who has said thanks but no thanks to SuperDraft the last two years… how does it feel to lose to a team with seven SuperDraft selections, including a starting back line in DeJuan Jones, Kessler, Farrell, and Buchanan, who were all SuperDraft selections? I bet the people who think “SuPeRDrAfT iS wOrThLeSs!” are feeling pretty awful, too.
OK, enjoy this tonight, enjoy your Thanksgiving Dinner — please wear a mask if you’re traveling — and then get focused on Sunday.
And before we go, can someone please buy Scott Caldwell a beer?! Check out his passing map for tonight:
Not only that, he got plowed the bleep over a couple of times. Scotty is a thin gentleman, but he’s as rugged as a tree.
THEY SAID IT
“We came out and competed today. We knew if we brought the energy and the fight, we had the chance (to win) tonight. I’m happy we were able to do that.” — Tajon Buchanan
Orlando bound! With the win, New England has another quick turnaround — nothing new in 2020 — to Sunday, Nov. 29, against No. 4 Orlando City, which beat New York City FC, 6-5, on penalties this past Sunday. That’ll be 3 p.m. on ABC. See you then.