The Revolution desperately needed a weekend win over the Montreal Impact to keep its playoff hopes alive. And the club delivered, riding steady defense and a Lee Nguyen goal to a 1-0 win.
For the second week in a row, it’s all stock up and no stock down for the 8th-place Revs. Here’s who impressed the most:
Last week, Caldwell put forth a strong two-way shift against Orlando City, assisting one of three Kei Kamara goals while helping the Revs lock down the defensive third. On Saturday, he offered another strong performance—and in vintage fashion, it was anything but flashy.
Against a dangerous Impact attack, Caldwell clogged the passing lanes, drew fouls, stalled key attacking opportunities and asserted himself as a nuisance in the middle of the park. Yet above all these things, his soccer intelligence stood out most. Caldwell read the game extremely well; he appeared a step ahead of the Impact attackers on several different occasions, which made it difficult for Montreal’s creators to break through and find forwards Ignacio Piatti and Anthony Jackson-Hamel in dangerous spots.
It looked like Caldwell had begun to slip into a reserve role, though after a pair of strong performances, he seems poised to earn regular starts the rest of the way.
Mid-August rest and recovery has re-ignited Nguyen’s season. Since his return from injury two weeks ago, the Revolution playmaker has assisted four goals (all vs. Orlando City SC) and scored a game-winning goal (against the Impact). That means Nguyen has played a role in the past five Revolution tallies. The Texas-born midfielder has undoubtedly shown up at the right time, leading the Revs to a pair of wins when anything but a win could have doomed the team’s playoffs hopes.
Against Montreal, Nguyen added two key passes to his game-winning goal while taking a team-high 77 touches. That’s exactly what the Revs need from him down the stretch.
Koffie joins Nguyen as one of two carryovers from last week’s “stock up” list. The Ghanaian midfielder partnered with Caldwell to stifle a talented Impact attack. He bullied Montreal’s midfielders, picked up four interceptions and covered all corners of the field while helping Cody Cropper earn his second straight clean sheet. And like Caldwell, he showed the ability to draw fouls in big spots.
Instead of wearing down in the latter stages of the season, Koffie has improved, establishing himself as one of the most consistent players on the Revolution roster—partly due to his clean bill of health, and partly due to his heady play in the middle of the field.