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New England Revolution 2 - Philadelphia Union 1: 3 Thoughts
The 2023 regular season is over
Decision Day descended upon Gillette Stadium as a matchup between the Philadelphia Union and New England would close out what has been the most turbulent season in club history.
A win and a Columbus Crew loss would give the Revolution home-field advantage. A loss would see New England head on the road for two out of the three first-round matches.
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Interim head coach Clint Peay once again switched things up slightly as the Revolution were deployed in a 4-3-3 formation that ended up playing more like a 4-2-3-1. Ryan Spaulding and DeJuan Jones were on the wings with Dave Romney and Andrew Farrell playing center back.
The midfield was made up of Matthew Polster and Tommy McNamara playing in defensive roles while Noel Buck and Tomas Chancalay were on the wings. Carles Gil played his usual No. 10 role and Gustavo Bou was the lone striker.
McNamara earned his first start of the season while Ryan Spaulding made it into the starting XI for the first time since August 26th in his first start under Peay.
But what do you need to know about the match? Here are three thoughts.
1 - Big baller Bou
After going down a goal, the Revolution needed someone to step up, enter La Pantera.
After a handball in the box by Damian Lowe, Bou stepped up to the spot and beat Andre Blake with his shot whizzing past the goalkeeper. The goal saw the Revs draw even and receive a much-needed energy boost.
But Bou wasn’t done. Carles Gil sent a beautiful ball towards goal and the Argentinian blasted it past Blake.
It has been a roller coaster of a season for the Designated Player. The striker has struggled to stay on the field but when healthy, the Argentinian is a consistent attacking threat. He finished the regular season with seven goals (tied for most among Revs strikers this season).
Bou’s contract is expiring at the end of the season and while he is 33 years old, the DP is making a compelling case that New England needs to keep him around.
2 - Miscommunication
New England quickly went down a goal and Jackson will be wishing that he did a better job of communicating with his back line.
Philadelphia launched a ball over the top and a miscommunication between Jackson and Romney resulted in the young goalkeeper fumbling with the ball and Julian Carranza scoring from the ground.
Obviously playing a young goalkeeper makes you susceptible to these issues but overall the team was struggling to communicate. Farrell and Romney had a moment off their own and wayward passes were a plenty.
Jackson made some quality saves but his ability to be an MLS-caliber goalkeeper remains to be seen. He needs to have stronger hands to limit rebounds and his distribution will need to improve.
3 - It is 2020 all over again
Remember during the COVID years when it seemed like all the Revolution did was play against the Union. That will be happening in the first round of the playoffs.
Obviously the Union are quite talented with the likes of Kai Wagner, Daniel Gazdag, Blake, and Carranza, but the Revolution held their own against Philly. Blake looked subpar and it took a mistake from Jackson for the Union to find the back of the net.
With a healthy Henry Kessler and the attacking trio of Chancalay, Bou, and Gil creating chances, New England will have a chance against the Union. While Jim Curtin’s side always is a challenge to play against, they didn’t look as dangerous as fans are used to seeing.
Prior to the match, I would have suspected that the Revolution would be knocked out in the first round but after the win, New England might have a chance.