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New England Revolution vs Orlando City: MLS Cup Playoffs Preview

Most people thought they would not be here, but that did not stop the Revolution on Tuesday night. New England conjured up what might have been their best performance of the season, stifling top seeded Philadelphia en route to a 2-0 victory. 

 

When the game began, it seemed as though the Revs were benefiting from their recent play-in round game. Philadelphia had been out of action for over two weeks, and they looked slow to react from kickoff. The Revolution jumped all over the Union before the home team had time to play through the rust.

 

Adam Buksa opened the scoring, latching on to the end of a sublime Carles Gil delivery in the 26th minute.

 

 

New England was not done there. Four minutes later, Tajon Buchanan joined the attack. The right back eluded a defender in the box before firing the ball past the right leg of Andre Blake and into the back of the net.

 

 

Buchanan, a natural winger, loves joining the offense from the right back position. This is especially true in matchups with Philadelphia. The Canadian has scored three goals in his Revolution career, all of them coming against the Union.

 

Carles Leads, New England Follows

 

The playmaking ability of Carles Gil was the common theme on both of the Revs’ goals. The Spanish midfielder picked up two assists on his way to his second consecutive man of the match performance. Gil has been phenomenal for New England since returning from injury. The 28-year-old has added a creative spark that nobody else on the New England roster can replicate.

 

Gil very nearly capped off his performance with what may well have been the goal of the season. Early in the second half, Gil picked up the ball and dribbled his way around the edge of the 18 yard box before looking up and seeing Andre Blake slightly off his line. Gil delivered the most delicate of chips. The ball drifted up over Blake and seemed to be dipping right into the top corner. Unfortunately the ball struck the crossbar and stayed out.

 

 

In attempting to score in such a delightful way, Gil displayed more than just his superb technical ability. The confidence that the Spaniard is playing with right now was on full display. When healthy and at his best, Gil has the tools to stake his claim to the title of best playmaker in the league. The fact that he has been so good in the two playoff games is a great sign for New England going forward.

 

Orlando City Preview

 

Up next for the Revs is an Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup with Orlando City. The game will take place on Sunday at 3:00 pm. It can be seen on ABC.

 

 

New England have not played Orlando this season. However, it sounds as though they will be drawing on past experiences to continue using the underdog mentality that has gotten them this far.

 

 

As Jeff Lemieux points out on twitter, goalkeeper Matt Turner is aware of the fact that the Revolution have never won in Orlando. Despite struggling away from home, the Revs do lead the all time series with four wins to Orlando’s three. The two teams have also produced five draws. 

 

Orlando’s Red Card Woes  

 

Orlando had to endure a wild round one matchup with NYCFC to get to this point. They survived two red cards and some astonishingly incompetent officiating to advance, 6-5 on penalties. Unfortunately for Orlando, the red cards mean they will be without their first choice right back, Ruan, and their star goalkeeper, Pedro Gallese.

 

Nani, the former Manchester United standout, has been Orlando’s key man this season. The Portuguese international has appeared in 24 matches this season, contributing nine goals and five assists. Nani primarily operates as either a left winger or the left striker in a front two. 

 

Predictions

 

The Revolution are on a roll right now. Their attack has finally gotten fully healthy at the right time. The front four of Teal Bunbury, Gustavo Bou, Carles Gil and Adam Buksa has been great in the playoffs thus far. The three designated players in Bou, Buksa and Gil have played off one another extremely well. 

 

Orlando and New England both conceded 25 goals in 23 games during the regular season. Considering Orlando is missing two key pieces of their defense, the scales start to tip in favor of the Revolution in that category.

The major difference between the two teams on the year was their offenses. Orlando scored 40 regular season goals, good enough for second best in the East. The Revolution scored just 26 goals in the same span. However, New England have looked like a completely different attacking team since their return to health.

 

The Revolution will not have the benefit of surprising a team that has been out of action this time around. Even with the suspensions, Orlando are probably considered the favorites for this game. 

 

Personally, I like New England in this one. The Revs have been a great road team all season long. Even with past history, Orlando’s home field advantage should not phase them too much. Bruce Arena seems to have picked the perfect time to have his team firing on all cylinders. The Revs are defending well and playing as a unit to put together overwhelming offensive moves.

 

One of the three designated players have either scored or assisted on all four of New England’s playoff goals. I expect more of the same in a 2-1 Revolution victory on Sunday.

 

– Andrew Fasciano (@afasc573)

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