Revolution 2023 Season Opener: 3 Thoughts on Season Opening Win
the 2023 season is underway
The 2023 MLS Season is finally underway and the New England Revolution were able to secure three points against Charlotte FC on Saturday.
It was an emotional atmosphere as Charlotte was honoring Anton Walkes who passed away prior to the start of the season. The 25-year-old Charlotte FC defender died as a result of injuries suffered in a boating accident.
In addition, Charlotte had 69,000 fans in attendance for their home opener. Playing in the atmosphere is a test for even the most talented of teams.
There wasn’t a lot of surprises in the starting XI with the main story being about who wasn’t there. The Blazing Musket’s own Seth Macomber reported why Latif Blessing was on the bench and why Jack Panayotou wasn’t in the matchday squad. Fellow Youngsters Noel Buck and Damian Rivera did make their way into the starting lineup in their stead.
But what do you need to know about New England’s opening match? Here are three thoughts.
1 - The back line figured it out (especially Henry Kessler)
When you record a clean sheet, it is hard to be upset at the performance of your defenders. After a 2022 season that saw plenty of mistakes and some errors in preseason, it appears that New England’s back line figured it out.
I’m going to focus on Dave Romney and Henry Kessler as it was quite jarring to not see Andrew Farrell on the pitch for a Revs season opener. Both of the centerbacks looked calm in comfortable against Charlotte.
Kessler in particular impressed. Besides solid defense, he also had some impressive long balls forward.
I’ll also say that Romney looked quite good as well. He didn’t make too many mistakes and was exactly what you would like to see from a veteran.
The fact that New England was able to shut down Karol Świderski and Enzo Copetti shouldn’t be taken lightly. They are a dangerous duo who will be worth keeping an eye on as this season progresses.
While there were times where New England struggled playing out of the back and made some mistakes, they wern’t costly. Romney and Kessler were also able to get involved in the game offensively with two dangerous chances.
Kessler eventually gave the Revolution the lead with a beautifully slotted goal in the 89th minute. He was the man of the match in my opinion and after a difficult 2022 season, the center back got a much-needed confidence boost.
2 - Dylan Borrero is indeed good
There was a lot of doubt after Dylan Borrero struggled with injuries in 2022 but he showed his skill and ability. Borrero was able to get by defenders and get shots off and create chances.
The winger was dangerous on the ball and couldn’t be stopped by Nathan Byrne. It’s exactly what you wanted to see from him. In the 76th minute he had a dangerous shot off of a volley but Pablo Sisniega made the save.
Borrero entered half with 88 percent of his passes completed and won five of his six ground duels. While Borrero was unable to find the back of the net or assist on a goal, he will eventually if he continues to play as he did against Charlotte.
3 - DP disappointment
Carles Gil and Giacomo Vrioni were the only Designated Players on the field for New England and both didn’t have great performances.
Now saying that Gil struggled is relative. I mean he still managed to draw boatloads of fouls but he wasn’t his usual magical self. He was unable to be truly effective in the game.
But Gil was complaining about fouls a lot. This isn’t a shock but the captain has been in MLS for quite some time and the fact that he is sometimes complaining instead of getting back on defense isn’t great to see.
Vrioni was just invisible against Charlotte. Especially in the first half he barely got any touches and was unable to create any chances in the box. In the second half he was clunky on the ball and once again failed to make an impact.
If New England continues to get sub-optimal performances from their DP’s, 2023 could be a difficult season,
Luckily, Kessler was able to ensure that New England got three points. The Revs now head home as they play the Houston Dynamo in their home opener on March 4th.