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Jacob Jackson's Playoff Debut Doesn't Go to Plan
“A tough call there with the penalty, he’s making a play on the ball. In general, I thought that he made a couple of decent saves, protected the goal well, and was steady.”
With only two MLS starts under his belt, Jacob Jackson is still undergoing some on-the-job training as the starting goalkeeper for the Revolution. Those growing pains continued Saturday night in Chester, PA.
The goalkeeper was caught out on an island early on after he took an adventure away from the friendly confines of his goalkeeper box. Jackson was in a race between himself and Julián Carranza for possession of the ball and as the goalkeeper dived he made contact with the Union attacker.
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The official originally ruled that Jackson didn’t commit a foul but after going to the monitor, the Union were given a penalty shot and Daniel Gazdag took advantage.
From there, things went from bad to worse. Jackson was able to push away a Kai Wagner cross that bounced off Dave Romney, but Michael Uhre tapped home the rebound to make it 2-0. A Michael Harriot header made it three conceded goals before Jackson’s first half in his playoff debut was over.
But despite a rocky start to his playoff career, the Revolution locker room is standing behind its young keeper.
“I think obviously, all our goalkeepers are great, and Jacob [Jackson] has gotten the call the last couple games. I think he’s a really talented goalie, he keeps getting better and better and made some big saves for us tonight to keep us in it as well,” Andrew Farrell said after the match.
Center back Dave Romney agreed with his partner on the back line about Jackson’s performance.
“He knows he made a mistake on the first goal but other than that I think he played well. He's good with his feet. He made a couple big saves," Romney added after the match.
The positive sentiment carried over to the head coach as well.
“A tough call there with the penalty, he’s making a play on the ball,'“ said interim head coach Clint Peay. In general, I thought that he made a couple of decent saves, protected the goal well, and was steady.”
The playoff opener continues a frustrating spell of form where the New England Revolution — who have conceded multiple goals in 8 of the 12 games since Djordje Petrovic has been sold — only keeping a single clean sheet in that span.
Jackson himself has conceded multiple goals in each of his three games since taking over in net. While not every goal has been his fault and three games is a small sample size, expected goals have shown an underachievement during his tenure with 8 goals conceded on 6.69 expected goals per FotMob.
While Peay has complimented Jackson as a steady hand, he wasn’t ready to confirm if he expected the young keeper to start Game 2.
“Everybody’s in contention [to start], goalkeepers as well. We’ll just make decisions as we move forward,” Peay said. “We have a few days to think about it.”
Regardless if Jackson retains the starting job, or if Peay decides to go to the more seasoned veterans of Earl Edwards Jr. or Tomas Vaclik, the Revolution will need a strong performance from the goalkeeper position with their backs against the wall against Philadelphia.