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New England Revolution 1 (3) - Querétaro F.C. 1 (4): 3 Thoughts
The Revs Leagues Cup has come to an end
The New England Revolution Leagues Cup journey came to end on Monday as they fell to Querétaro F.C.
The match saw the return of Djordje Petrovic after he sat out of the match against Atlas as he was involved in transfer rumors. This was also the first match after Brandon Bye announced he will miss the rest of the season.
With Richie Williams still at the helm while Bruce Arena is on administrative leave, the Revolution had Ryan Spaulding play left back while DeJuan Jones switched to the right side of the pitch. Giacomo Vrioni was the lone striker with Gustavo Bou out of the matchday squad.
New England was also missing Carles Gil who was still recovering from a physical Thursday night. Ema Boateng and Noel Buck were on the wings as Ian Harkes, Mark-Anthony Kaye, and Matt Polster all played centrally.
But what do you need to know about the loss? Here are three thoughts.
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1 - Esmir excels
Esmir Bajraktarevic had a night to remember off the bench. The Homegrown scored his first goal for the Revolution to tie the match.
It was a beautiful strike from the youngster who received a pass from Polster and in a split second turned and rifled a shot into the net.
The goal was a culmination of hard work from the 18-year-old. Whether it be grinding with Revs II or getting close to scoring with the first team, it was a well-earned moment from the youngster.
With the addition of Tomas Chancalay, it will be interesting to see how Bajraktarevic is used going forward. It seemed like he was in for a reduction in minutes but Williams trusted him to make an impact off the bench (Chancalay might not be completely match fit but still).
Bajraktarevic came up big for New England and it likely won’t be the last time he does. The youngster has a bright future and already boasts some impressive skill that can only grow with more time and experience.
When you add in the likes of Noel Buck and Jack Panayotou, the future is quite bright for the Revolution.
2 - Solo Vrioni
With Bobby Wood and Bou both out of the matchday squad, Vrioni was left as the lone striker on Monday night.
Usually, Vrioni has been paired with a striker (especially as of late) so it was an opportunity for the striker to show that he can do just fine all by himself. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best night for him.
Too often, Vrioni disappeared in the match. He struggled to gain touches and really didn’t create any chances. Even when he got the ball he was too clunky and ended up giving away possession.
Part of the issue with having the 24-year-old as a lone striker is that he still needs to work on his hold-up play. Vrioni wants to break the back line with runs in behind so he will need to improve the physical part of his game if he wants to grow as a striker.
So while Vrioni has impressed in recent matches, he still needs to improve.
3 - Poor Petro
After missing the last match, Petrovic had a poor return to the Gillette Stadium pitch. The goal he allowed was mostly his fault due to poor positioning.
Pablo Barrera sent a cross into the box and Jaime Valencia Gomez. Petrovic got a poor read and seemed to think that it was going far post but he got it completely wrong.
It was an uncharacteristic play for the best goalkeeper in MLS. After his brief absence, it will be easy to point to matchday rust but the goalkeeper needed to do better.
The Serbian keeper went on to make some impressive saves and display his pure shot-stopping ability but the lone goal was a stain on his night. It was almost like he got caught napping early in the second half.
It’s likely just a blip on the radar, but the Revs need Petrovic to be tuned in whenever he is out on the pitch. He was switched off for one second and Querétaro made New England pay.