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Revs Fall to Philadelphia as Playoffs Loom

The New England Revolution came up just short against the Philadelphia Union on Monday night, losing 2-1 at Gillette Stadium. With the defeat, the Revs fall to 7-7-5 on the season through 19 games played. 

 

Game Recap

 

Philadelphia opened the scoring in the 34th minute when Andrew Farrell slid in front of his own goal and inadvertently deflected a low cross from Kai Wagner past Matt Turner. Despite some good pressure in response from New England, the first half finished up without too much more action. 

 

The Union extended their lead in the 69th minute when Jamiro Monteiro unlocked the Revolution defense with a floated pass from the left wing. Anthony Fontana received the pass and calmly dinked the ball over Turner for his third goal against the Revs this season. 

 

Despite being down 2-0, the Revs mounted an impressive response in the final third of the game. Tajon Buchanan cut the Union lead to one with a wonderful goal as the game entered the 81st minute. The 21-year-old carried the ball to the edge of the Philadelphia penalty area before picking up his head and firing a shot that glanced off the underside of the crossbar on its way in.

 

 

Just moments later, it seemed as though the Revolution had drawn level when Tajon Buchanan once again steered the ball into the back of the Philadelphia net. This time however, the goal was wiped off the board when the assistant referee ruled that the Canadian winger had been offside while receiving a through ball from Teal Bunbury. 

 

Then, in the 84th minute, the Revolution earned a dangerous free kick on the edge of the area. The Revs were pushing hard, creating this chance just moments after their potential equalizer had been ruled out. Lee Nguyen stepped up, and curled the ball toward the top right corner. Union GK Andre Blake leapt across and preserved the Philadelphia lead with one of his many impressive saves on the night.

 

 

The Revs managed to muster up one final chance in the 93rd minute when Lee Nguyen coolly controlled a ball in the box. Unfortunately, the 34-year-old fired the ball over the goal, put off by the pressure of a sliding Jakob Glesnes.

 

 

Moments later the match ended, leaving the Revolution understandably frustrated that their comeback had fallen short. 

 

Takeaways

 

All things considered, the Revolution did a decent job of breaking down the Union’s top-ranked defense. New England created 16 chances, producing eight shots on target in the process. This was good enough for an expected goals rating of 1.28, exactly double the Union’s xG of 0.64 (infogol).

 

The Revs also had the majority of the possession to go with the chances they created. New England kept the ball for 57% of the match and generated seven corners (fotmob). However, finishing in the final third is where they miss the creativity of Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou. With return timetables uncertain for both players, the Revs will need their supporting cast to rise to the occasion. Adam Buksa in particular must replicate his man of the match performance from Wednesday against Montreal with increasing frequency going forward.

 

Andre Blake played extremely well for Philadelphia, making several important saves that ended up being the difference. Blake made two clutch saves in the second half that stood out. In the 64th minute, Teal Bunbury directed a header towards the bottom corner from close range, but Blake got down to his right quickly and parried the ball away to keep the score 1-0 in favor of the Union. Blake once again came up big in the 84th minute when he swept aside Nguyen’s dangerous free kick attempt.

 

Playoff picture

 

Luckily, the Revolution are still in a fairly comfortable position with regards to the Eastern Conference standings. The Revs remain in fifth place in the East with 28 points. They sit four points behind fourth place Orlando, who also have a game in hand. Going forward, the Revs will need to crack the top four if they wish to secure a home playoff game. 

 

To close out the season, the Revs will face Nashville (10/23), NY Red Bulls (10/28) and Philadelphia (11/8) on the road. They also have one remaining home game against D.C. United (11/1). The road trip should not intimidate New England too much. The Revs have put together a 6-2-2 record away from home to pick up an impressive 20 road points on the season. 

 

Even if Revs fall short of securing a top four position, it may not be the worst case scenario. New England has been dismal at home, picking up just one win at Gillette this season. However, finishing in the top six is a must. By doing so, the Revolution would avoid the play-in round and secure an extra week of rest. 

 

With games against fellow top six contenders like Nashville and NYRB just around the corner, the 2020 Revolution have firm control of their playoff destiny.

 

– Andrew Fasciano (@afasc573)

 

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