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New England Revolution 1 - Philadelphia Union 3: 3 Game 1 Thoughts
A match that Revolution fans will want to forget
The MLS Playoffs are underway and the Union-Revolution rivalry began a new chapter with Philadelphia coming out the victors.
Any momentum the Revolution was carrying from last week’s 2-1 win over this same Union team was left at the door as Philadelphia proved to be a tough team to beat at Subaru Park, where they’ve only lost once so far in 2023.
Clint Peay did add a tweek to the starting lineup with Mark Anthony Kaye starting in place of Tommy McNamara, but Henry Kessler and Tomas Vaclik still remained out of the starting lineup.
Ultimately, it was the substitution Peay had to make in-game that altered the way this first leg played out, but more on that later.
What do you need to know about the match? Here are three thoughts.
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1- Jacob Jackson’s Rough Playoff Debut
After 15 minutes with few noteworthy chances (and Noel Buck’s volley barely staying out after hitting the crossbar), the Union were awarded as penalty after Jacob Jackson collided with Julian Carranza while chasing a loose ball.
DeJuan Jones’ cross was blocked and found its way into the 18-yard box, causing Jackson to flee the goalmouth to gather the ball. Carranza got a left foot to the ball before Jackson got there, and Daniel Gazdag converted from the penalty spot, giving the home side an early 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Less than 10 minutes later, Kai Wagner swung in a cross that Dave Romney tried chesting to Jackson, but Jackson was caught by surprise and had to make a diving stop to keep the ball out before the ball landed on the foot of Mikael Uhre who tapped it home to make it 2-0. For good measure, the Union headed home a third goal off a set piece in the 37th minute.
(Post-game note from the author: I asked Dave Romney about the second goal after the match, and he stated he wasn’t attempting to play the ball back to Jackson)
While Jackson doesn’t deserve a lot of blame for the second goal (or the third), the opening goal is a glaring error that put the Revs on the back foot.
Either way, conceding multiple goals within the first third of the game is not ideal for the former first-round pick and only highlights the Djordje Petrovic-sized hole that remains in net for the Revolution.
2 - Carles Gil Early Exit
Remember the May 20 game in Philadelphia when Carles Gil left the match in the first half and the Revolution were outmatched and outclassed for the remainder of the game without him?
Five months later, the Revolution had deja vu and were re-living a day they couldn’t wait to end like they were Bill Murray running away from Ned Ryerson trying to sell him insurance.
Gil took a rough challenge from Uhre early in the match, and appeared to be nursing a right leg injury. After a few minutes of trying to play off the injury, he was ultimately taken off in the 23rd minute.
The Union took full advantage of the Revolution’s 2023 MVP being taken off, scoring almost instantly with a second goal in the 26th minute and again in the 38th minute, effectively ending the match.
The Revolution’s playoff success is highly dependent on Carles Gil’s health, and taking the final two games in the first-round series against Philadelphia will be a difficult task if he’s not there.
A healthy Gil might lead to a competitive series, while without him, well, it’ll be Groundhog Day….again.
3 - A little La Pantera Magic
Gustavo Bou made sure the Revolution got on the board in some fashion with a fantastic effort in the 68th minute to give the visitors a goal.
At a point in the game where the Revs were conceding chance after chance in their own end, Bou carried the ball into the left side of the box, danced around two defenders, and fired a left-footed shot over Andre Blake and into the roof of the net.
The goal might not be remembered by many and won’t go down in Revolution lore as an all-time great goal, but in a year where Gustavo Bou's game time has been limited, Bou was still able to show a flash of what has made Bou a special player in New England since arriving in 2019.
It also may go down as his final goal in a Revolution kit, pending the results of the rest of the 2023 playoffs. If it was his final Revs goal, it was a great example of his skills, creativity, and ability to create something out of nothing. If only Gil was out there to celebrate with him.
Bonus Take - Rebellion Bus Trip A Success (Sort of)
A shoutout to the loyal supporters who spent their Saturday traveling via bus to attend the match. Just like the game, the trip didn’t go as planned, as a detour caused the supporters to arrive a little late and make their way into Subaru Park about 15 minutes into the match (just in time to see the opening Union goal).
Nevertheless, approximately 40 fans took the bus, which was organized by The Rebellion, to show some support for the Revs on the road. And for that, we tip our caps to you and hope some beers were available for the ride back.