Revs Make It Happen When It Counts
The MLS Playoffs kicked off on Friday night with the New England Revolution against the Montreal Impact. The game was a play-in to Round 1. Throughout the season, the Impact has given the Revs trouble, but not enough. The Impact lost three of the prior meetings with the Revolution, with them only winning the season opener in Montreal. Definitely, a full-circle moment for the Revolution when the ball bounced the right way for Gustavo Bou. He ended up burying the game-winner in the 95th minute of the match.
Many of the players on the team showed talent and skill throughout the match. Tajon Buchanan played a false right back position which was phenomenal. He ended up open more often than not during the game which caused havoc on the Montreal defense. He helped to provide three shot-creating chances and one goal creating chance on Gil's goal from Bou's cross. DeJuan Jones was a nightmare for the defenders on the left. He completed 87 percent of his passes and carried the ball for over 237 yards during the match. To keep possession of the ball through defenders, DeJuan completed two of six attempted dribbles. Jones also created the game-winning goal from a slick pass to Gustavo Bou.
Possession and Passing Strong Points
The entire team on the whole created great chances to keep the ball. This allowed the team to act calmly and invent attempts on goal. The Revolution ended up with 65 percent of the possession of the match. They were able to keep passes on target, finishing the match with 84.7 percent average pass completion. New England was able to keep the ball on foot, completing 15 of 28 dribbles through the game. The most passes completed were by Carles Gil. Gil also had the most shot-creating actions during the game, ten. He wasn't the most accurate though. The accuracy king was Scott Caldwell while he was on for 41 minutes. Caldwell completed 53 of 56 passes.
The Montreal Impact failed to keep a hold of the ball for the match. In the end, this ruined the possibility to take chances. The team on the whole only had possession for 35 percent of the match. That being said, they won the most tackles, aerial duels, and interceptions. This should have been enough to be able to keep better possession, but their passing was poor. Throughout the match, they averaged pass completion of 72 percent of their passes. As well, this disallowed them to achieve keeping touches on the ball. The Revolution registered almost 300 more touches during the game.
Designated Players Shine
The New England Revolution exudes strength while all three designated players are on the field. Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou, and Adam Buksa helped the team as a focal point during the match. Buksa kept the ball at his feet through the match, performing a perfect five out of five dribbles. He also was using his head, creating two of his three shots on target with headers. Gustavo Bou had the game-winning goal and an assist to Carles Gil in the match. While his game-winner was his only shot on goal, Bou consistently found himself in dangerous positions. Gustavo was second to only Carles in creating shots for others with six chances created in the game. Gil was on point in every aspect of his game against the Impact, creating chances for all players.
Strikes Of Brilliance For The Revolution
During this MLS Playoffs Play-In, the Revs never seemed to be down and out. They kept pushing forward and creating more attacking plays throughout the game. The players that needed to show up did in big ways testing the keeper throughout the match. Nine shots on target out of 23 total shots. In the end, that sounds like poor finishing, but the "misses" were usually wide left or right within inches. The Revolution was making Diop nervous with the number of times they were able to get in towards him and he finally caved.
The Tajon Buchanan experiment was a great, dynamic formation. I have reason to believe a similar tactic would function greatly against the Philadelphia Union in MLS Playoffs Round 1 on Tuesday. A shifting back-line, with a speedy attacker being able to get free when needed. I want to see more of this strategy going forward into next year with Bruce Arena at the helm. With Buchanan in mind, I hope his health didn't falter too much from the injury in this game. He was a very bright spot finding space and creating problems on the right side when he pushed.
Also, a Revolution game wouldn't be complete without Matt Turner making sure the net was safe. Turner saved five of six shots during the match. He also still managed to get his hand on the sixth shot. (Should Have Been) Goalkeeper of the Year was a strong point in this MLS Playoffs match-up.