It seemed as though the New England Revolution had a great chance to end the 2020 regular season on a high note. They had a healthy roster and were facing a familiar foe in the Philadelphia Union, but Sunday night didn't end well for the Revs. They lost much more than Sunday’s matchup.
New England wasn’t just playing for the three points. They had the opportunity to play spoiler and possibly ruin the Union’s chances of winning the Supporters’ Shield. Also, the Revolution had a chance to avoid the play-in round of the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
But that wasn't in the cards for the Revs on Sunday night. They were thoroughly beaten as Bruce Arena put it after the game, and now have a date with the Montreal Impact in the play-in round.
It was a dominant effort by Philadelphia. Even though they lost the possession battle, the Union were much more successful in the final third and ended up outshooting the Revolution 18-9. New England was sloppy all over the field and simply made too many mistakes.
The Union were finally able to capitalize on their attacking efforts in the 42nd minute. Once again the Revolution were done in by poor defending on set pieces.
Off a corner kick, the Union were able to regain possession after the ball was sent out of the box, Philadelphia reset and Alejandro Bedoya headed the ball towards net. Bedoya’s header went off the crossbar but the Revolution were left flat-footed and Sergio Santos had an easy goal.
This isn’t new territory for New England. The Revolution have struggled defending set pieces for the entire 2020 season. Midfielder Scott Caldwell was asked about the team’s poor defending on set pieces and admitted this issue has been plaguing the Revs.
He said. “Look I mean we’ve known that for a while. We continue to work on it in training and we just have to continue to stay switched on, continue to communicate and the moments, the moments are what are letting us down right now, and continuing to stay tight to guys in the box. So we’ll keep working on that. We’ll make sure that we get it sorted for the playoffs.”
This is definitely something that the Revolution have to figure out before their matchup against the Montreal Impact. If they continue to have these lapses in games they will not go far in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
But the Revolution have almost two weeks before their matchup with the Impact. This is plenty of time to get things sorted out as Caldwell said and forget about their disappointing performance against the Union.
So will the Revolution end their season with a whimper or make a run in the playoffs? That all depends on what team decides to show up in those crucial moments.