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Revolution v. D.C. United: Three Thoughts

The Revs are playing safe soccer.

MLS: D.C. United at New England Revolution Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution tied D.C. United 1-1 on Saturday night. Juan Agudelo scored the opener in the 61st minute, just five minutes after Matt Turner was shown a red card. Wayne Rooney brought the game back to level terms when he converted a penalty.

Here are three thoughts from the game:

  1. The Revs are playing safe soccer. Since naming Mike Lapper as their interim head coach, the Revolution are 1-0-2, which is a record built on conservative play. In search of a reset after leaking goals during the final days of the Friedel Era, the Revs have been focused on being sound defensively. Once they win the ball, they look to counter. While possession can be a misleading stat, it’s telling that the Revs have lost the possession battle in their last three games (they had 32.3% vs. D.C.). It’s effective—not pretty—soccer. The first half of Saturday’s game was particularly mundane.
  2. It was nice to see Brad Knighton on his bobblehead night. I once wrote an article about the curse associated with Revs bobblehead night. Time after time, a Revs player suffered a misstep around the time of his special night. That was almost the case on Saturday, as “Jedi Knighton” played reserve to Turner. However, the veteran was called into action after Turner took out Rooney. Knighton entered and immediately made a big save. Later, he got his hand on Rooney’s penalty, though he wasn’t able to keep it from going into the back of the net. I’m a big fan of Turner, but was admittedly a bit happy to see Knighton come on during Saturday’s game.
  3. Video Review shouldn’t be overused. The moment of controversy came in the 87th minute when Brandon Bye was ruled to have committed a handling offense inside the box. The ball did hit Bye’s hand but the defender had little time to react to the close-range shot. I would have no complaints if referee David Gantar called it on the field, but I don’t think the play needed to go to Video Review. In my opinion, there wasn’t a clear and obvious error because there’s room to argue if Bye had enough time to react.