Liberty Rivalry: Playoffs Round One
The Revolution won their play-in round against the Montreal Impact. This has placed them in the playoffs Round 1 match-up against the Philadelphia Union. A team they will officially face for the sixth time this year. The two teams have gotten so close during the season that Bruce had some words to say about the meeting.
Looking at the previous games, that's all true. If you exclude the Decision Day game, the Revolution and the Union have been a goal apart at best. In one case, they were tied. Bruce knows what he needs to do in this game. In his own words, "The reason they’ve beaten us four out of five games – and they’ve been low-scoring games – is because they get the first goal". The talent of this team has risen to the occasion in the past few weeks. It's a great thing to see out of a Revolution side when they have been down on their luck this year. The Revolution need to put their boots where the ball is because they have the talent to go ahead first.
Shots On Target Necessary
If there's one thing to come out of the statistics going into this game, is that the Revolution needs to test Andre Blake. Historically, Blake is very poor in the playoffs at shot stopping. His average save percentage is less than 50 percent during the playoffs. The Revolution should come out like their game against the Montreal Impact and put 9 shots on target again. It would cause the Union to buckle under pressure because of the high volume of the attack.
Additionally, Tajon Buchanan was an important puzzle piece. Buchanan has been the only Revolution player to create goals against the Union this year. In those games that Tajon scored, he had 6 shots total. Skillfully, he got five of those six shots on target. If the Revolution is run the team they ran against Montreal on Friday, I can see him being a huge part of the attack again.
Revs The Underdog, A Position They Thrive In
In five previous meetings this year, the Revolution have only scored two goals against Philadelphia. While this is poor, it just makes the Revolution the underdogs for this game. The Revolution has been a dark horse this year for the MLS. There have been many games during the year where the pundits placed the Revolution as clear losers. It's quite clear that the Revolution is like the Honey Badger.
The Revolution achieved the playoffs without their creative attacking midfielder Carles Gil. During that time, they also lost some key players for a few of the games, including Gustavo Bou. Also, the Revolution lost Cristian Penilla and Luis Caicedo to injury for the season as well. The underdog tag looks good on the Revolution and we have every reason to believe they'll overcome it.
The Revolution's goalkeeper Matt Turner currently has a 79 percent chance to make a save in the playoffs. New England will run with that and if they play a great defensive game, they will excel.
Concluding this positive outlook, I envision a heavily contested match. Andre Blake will still be hurting from his hand injury and that will help the Revs. The Revolution will score two goals first but the Union will mount a comeback. Ultimately, the come back will fail due to Turner and the strength of the center back pairing. Buksa will bury one of those headers he's been searching to find the net recently. Gustavo Bou will connect with Tajon Buchanan to score the game-winner, continuing Tajon's title of Blake's kryptonite. Finally, another Anthony Fontana strike will beat Turner. The Revolution will come out of this as the MLS Playoffs Round One winner.
Where to Watch
Tuesday, November 24th, at 8:00 PM EST, the Revolution will take on the Philadelphia Union at Suburu Park on ESPN.