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New England Revolution 5 - Atletico De San Luis 1: 3 Thoughts
The Revs advanced out of the Group Stage
The New England Revolution were able to ensure that their Leagues Cup journey continued as they defeated Atletico De San Luis 5-1.
Wednesday night’s match saw Giacomo Vrioni reenter the starting XI alongside Gustavo Bou up top. In the midfield, Ian Harkes appears to have locked down a starting spot with his superb start to his Revolution career. He was joined by Carles Gil, Noel Buck, and the recently acquired Mark-Anthony Kaye who made his home debut.
The back line remained unchanged from the match against New York with Djordje Petrovic once again in net. With the win, New England remains undefeated at home with a 10-0-3 record.
But what do you need to know about the Leagues Cup win? Here are three thoughts.
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1 - DP Duo
New England opened the scoring tab in the 15th minute and their two Designated Player strikers combined for some magic.
Bou and Harkes displayed some great interplay with Bou charging into the box and laying a pass to Vrioni who rocketed his shot into the net. It was the 24-year-olds sixth goal in all competitions (first in Leagues Cup).
The goal scoring from the duo wasn’t done there as a poor touch from Atletico De San Luis found Bou at the top of the box and he slapped home the second goal of the match to give New England the lead once again.
The duo put the cherry on top of the evening with a beautiful ball from Bou being dummied by Gil and caught an in stride Vrioni who scored his second goal of the evening. But Vrioni had one more trick in his bag as he slided home a Brandon Bye cross for his first Revolution hat trick.
It seems that every time Vrioni gets a start he is scoring goals as of late. It is getting increasingly harder for Arena to justify leaving him out of the starting XI. He now is the leading scorer at the striker position in all competitions.
Bou and Vrioni showed some quality chemistry as well on the night with the two pairing with each other quite well. While both like to run in between the back line and find space, Vrioni in particular showed some decent hold-up play.
With Vrioni also possessing great chemistry with Gil, Revolution fans might finally get to see all three DP’s get a run of starts.
2 - Set Piece Struggles
In recent years New England has struggled with set pieces and that was once again the case on Wednesday.
ASL’s lone goal of the night was scored off a beautiful corner kick play that was executed to perfection. A long header was sent toward the center of the box and Mateo Kilmowicz sent a beautiful shot past Petrovic. It was a superb strike that caught everyone (including the keeper) by surprise.
If New England wants to contend for a trophy they will need to improve in this area. Whether it be losing their marks or not defending the posts, the Revs have struggled in this area of the game. Petrovic can only bail you out so many times (and he did on Wednesday night).
3 - The Nacho Man
Revolution fans finally got to see Nacho Gil as the midfielder made his 2023 debut. It was a promising sign as New England continues to get healthier for the stretch run of the MLS season.
The 30-year-old looked full of energy in his debut and excited to be back on the pitch. As Nacho continues to build up fitness the depth in the midfield will only continue to grow.
There was a nervous moment when Nacho was a part of a collision at midfield. He was down on the field for some time but was able to continue playing. While adrenaline might have powered him through the rest of the match, it is a positive sign to see that he could play on and wasn’t forced to be subbed out.
It wasn’t a particularly impressive night for the 30-year-old but the fact that he is back on the field was pleasing enough. Hopefully, he can continue to get doses of minutes in the coming weeks.