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Game 1 Wasn't Complete Waste For New England Revolution
"This game will be about how well collectively can we handle their strengths and how well as a team can we continue to play when we have the ball.”
It is easy to chalk a loss as just that but the New England Revolution are heading into Game 2 of the first round of the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs with some knowledge gained from the 3-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union.
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Heading into the series, New England was likely well aware of the three-headed attacking monster of Daniel Gazdag, Julian Carranza, and Mikael Uhre. The trio combined for 39 goals and 15 assists in 2023. The dominance continued against the Revolution as Gazadag and Uhre found the back of the net in Game 1.
Midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye stated that New England knows the strengths of the Union, it all comes down to how the Revs manage or mitigate them.
“Yeah, Philly is a very good team in terms of the fact that their front three are on the same page the majority of the time,” Kaye said. “They make it difficult with their movement. Obviously, they have fullbacks that get up high and love to cross the ball, so for us we just need to understand what our defensive shape needs to be in order to slow them down, get numbers behind the ball, defend as a team and then when we were on the ball, we were fine. But again, when you give up three goals, it's really hard to fight back. So yeah, we know their strengths. We know their weaknesses. This game will be about how well collectively can we handle their strengths and how well as a team can we continue to play when we have the ball.”
Dave Romney and the rest of New England’s back line will have a tough challenge as they look to contain the Philly attack in Game 2. Playing in front of a young goalkeeper such as Jacob Jackson doesn't make the challenge any easier.
The center back noted that the Union have switched formations when playing New England.
“Getting familiar with their forwards [Carranza and Gazdag], and the way they want to play,” Romney said when asked about what was learned in Game 1. “They’ve played two different formations when we played them. They had [Jakob] Glesnes out last game, which kind of changed things, so it just remains to be seen which formation they do play. We’ve seen it in both games, but also, we know how to attack, or handle both of those.”
Teams have been able to score on New England with ease as of late. The Revolution have not kept a clean sheet in the last 10 matches.
If that streak continues, it is hard to see the Revs season lasting much longer.