Everything you need to know about the Revolution’s 3-1 win over 10-man Orlando City SC in the Eastern Conference Semifinals Sunday afternoon, in quickie form:
A first win in Orlando, on to first conference final since 2014: For the first time in club history, the Revolution have a win at Exploria Stadium — and it came in an incredibly meaningful match. And that win sends New England forward for its first Eastern Conference Final in six years. The Revs didn’t have most of the ball against the fourth-seeded Lions, but they didn’t need to; with Orlando City going down to 10 men, the Revs needed to stay organized in the back like they have all season; for the most part, they did that, and got an extra goal for their pleasure on the counter in the match’s waning minutes.
Bou, Turner ices it after Orlando goes to 10 men: Matches against Orlando City have been wild affairs, and Sunday was no exception. The Revs led from bonnet to boot, and found themselves up a man at the hour mark after Mauricio Pereyra went studs up into Matt Polster. Referee Alex Chilowicz didn’t hesitate and showed a straight red card, sending him off. Fourteen minutes later, Polster nearly gave Orlando City a lifeline, as he clattered Darryl Dike from behind in the penalty area. Matt Turner leaned right and thwarted Nani from the penalty spot, keeping the Revs’ 2-1 lead intact. But 12 minutes later, on the counter, Gustavo Bou scored his second of the match, toe-poking the football behind a charging Brian Rowe, and that iced the match and sent New England on to the final.
Buchanan fuels a 2-1 halftime lead: Despite having less of the ball (42.3 percent) in the first 45 minutes, New England went into the changing room ahead, and a lot of it came through the work of Tajon Buchanan. The second-year winger-turned-right back for now found himself clattered inside the penalty area at the quarter hour mark, with Carles Gil slotting right down the middle from the spot to give the Revolution a 1-nil lead against the run of play. Fast forward a few minutes, and Buchanan, helped by Gil, pressed Nani into a giveaway. Gil found Buchanan in space, and the former Syracuse Orangeman crossed into Adam Buksa. The Pole’s sliding shot went off the upright and fell right to Bou, who pounded it in and honored his fellow fallen countryman, Diego Maradona, to put new England ahead, 2-nil. But seven minutes later, Junior Urso pulled one back for Orlando City off a flurry of defensive errors, including a whiff by Henry Kessler, to make it 2-1.
No changes: For the first time since late August, Bruce Arena went with a completely unchanged XI from Tuesday’s 2-nil win over Philadelphia for Sunday’s matinee in central Florida. The only real change came on the bench, as Brandon Bye returned to the bench for the first time since the regular season concluded. Both Antonio Delamea and Seth Sinovic were dropped from the bench. Andrew Farrell went over 1,000 minutes played in MLS Cup Playoff matches. Second-half sub Lee Nguyen did also.
Tajon Buchanan: We continue to be awed by the second-year player. His takeaway of Nani and the subsequent crossing into Buksa to get the second goal was a huge, huge moment, and earning the penalty that led to New England’s opener was, well, fantastic. He finally got that call.
Matt Turner: Matty Coolhands to the rescue. He came up with the big save of the afternoon on the pen.
Gustavo Bou: Playing with a heavy heart given the loss of D10S this week, Bou kept a cool presence and scored a brace for the Revs to send New England deeper into the playoffs than they have been in six years.
Carles Gil: Goal from the spot and an assist. Paycheck earned.
Matt Polster: We generally don’t like to give demerits for a bad moment, but Polster wasn’t in the right positions a lot Sunday. Clattering Dike, which he knew he was guilty on, put the Revs in a spot of bother for all of a minute, but thankfully his goalkeeper is Matt Turner.
Henry Kessler: Again, unfortunate demerits for a bad moment. His whiff on the ball before it went to Urso when Turner had to call him off gets the Lions on the board. He did, however, have an otherwise good afternoon, as he only had one missed pass.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
Revs had 9 shots, 6 on-target
38.8 percent of the ball
77 percent passing accuracy
0 percent accuracy on 9 crosses
New England had 25 clearances
WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS RIGHT NOW
Major League Soccer needs to grow a damn set and stop coddling the designated players. How many times should Alex Chilowicz have to swallow his pride in one two-hour span? You put your hands on an official, like Nani did, and he should have an early shower. You. Do. Not. Touch. The. Official. Period.
THEY SAID IT
“It came down to a big moment with the penalty kick and, you know, do my homework. Spend my hours on film like Tim Melia and make the save.” — Matt Turner
Back to the Eastern Conference Final! New England will play at Columbus next Sunday, Dec. 6, at a time to be determined after the Crew needed extra time to knock off Nashville, 2-nil, Sunday night. We’ll see you in a week’s time.