The Revolution reignited their 2020 campaign with a 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact in their “MLS is Back” tournament opener. Although those three points will push the Revs further in the “MLS is Back” tournament and their 2020 campaign, it was not one of their cleaner performances. With a mixture of pros and cons, here are my thoughts on Thursday’s victory over the Montreal Impact.
GIL’S OFFENSIVE BOOST
The last time Midfielder Carles Gil dawned a Revolution jersey, the Revs suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Atlanta in the first round of the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. Gil missed the first two games of the 2020 season due to injury. Almost 9 months after his last performance, Carles Gil was ready to comeback and make an impact.
Carles came and conquered during Thursday’s match. Gil was on the field for all 90 minutes and showed why he’s the “Midfield Maestro”. His biggest impact on the Revs offense was his assist on the game’s lone goal from Gustavo Bou in the 56th minute. Although Gil’s assist was crucial to the Revs offense, he also contributed with two good offensive possessions that almost resulted in goals. The first coming in the 19th minute. After Gustavo Bou’s attack was haulted by Montreal’s defense, Bou was able to flick it to Carles Gil who sent a rocket of a shot from just outside the 18-yard-box. Unfortunately, Diop was able to get a hand on it and directed it out of bounds for a Revs corner kick. In the 40th minute, Gil used his speed and offensive IQ to lob a pass down field to Gustavo Bou who caught goalkeeper Diop off his line. Although Bou was not able to find the back of the net, it was good to see the interplay between both Designated Players develop. On top of his amazing performance, Gil created a resounding 12 chances for the Revolution offense
After 9 long months, Carles Gil was able to finally return to competitive soccer and was able to have a resounding impact for his club. Along with assisting on the game’s lone goal, Gil was also able to distribute the ball and create a plentiful amount of chances.
TURNER TRAIN PULLS INTO ORLANDO
Ever since the arrival of Bruce Arena in New England, keeper Matt Turner has been able to gain more playing time along with support and admiration from Revs fans. Regardless of the sport, when you become a fan favorite, you are bound to be bestowed a nickname from the fans. Throughout the 2019 season, Turner’s nickname took flight, or in this case, rails, as the “Turner Train” had pulled into the station. The “Turner Train” was rolling into ESPN’s Wide World of Sports as Matt Turner took the field Thursday night. Although Matt Turner only faced two shots on goal, his goalkeeping ability prevented a 1-0 win turning into a 2-1 defeat. Turner’s first save came in the 50th minute as an outstretched leg of the 26-year-old keeper prevented Maximiliano Urruti from scoring the equalizer.
As the Revs were looking to close out the match and pick up three points, Ballou Talba had other ideas. In the fifth minute of stoppage time, Talba curved an absolute beauty towards the left of Matt Turner. At the last possible moment, Turner leaped over and punched the ball away from goal and protected New England’s lead.
Overall, Turner’s heroic performance was the key factor behind the Revolution, Turner was not afraid to complement the guys in front of him. With his amazing goalkeeping abilities, along with his team-spirited attitude, Matt Turner has become one of the many fan favorites in Foxboro and across New England. After an incredible performance like he had tonight, Revs fans are hoping the “Turner Train” can continue to chug along!
FINISH THOSE CHANCES!
Man, I’m not going to lie. Watching some of those near misses was at times painful. Deep down, I want to chalk it up to ring rust, but as the Revolution prepare for their upcoming match against D.C. United, they need to make sure they can finish on created chances.
I could write for ages about the near misses and missed opportunities, but for the sake of time, I’ll list a few. In the 34th minute, Cristian Penilla was able to breakout inside the 18-yard-box. Penilla’s shot was unable to find net and puttered near inches away from the right goal poast.
The second came in the 40th minute as Carles Gil found Gustavo Bou open downfield. Gil’s pass was able to entice Diop to exit the 18-yard-box and attempt to drive it away from net. Yet “La Pantera” pushed himself into overdrive and outpaced Diop. Bou was able to pull it towards the left corner flag and tried chipping it into the net, yet was easily cleared out of the box by Montreal’s defense. Although not the angle Gustavo Bou was looking for, when Diop hands you a goal scoring opportunity on a silver platter, you need to capitalize on it.
Bou would go on to miss another phenomenal chance prior to halftime. Caldwell’s long pass put Bou into a perfect goal scoring opportunity. In hopes of recreating the goal against NYCFC which secured the Revs a spot in the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, Gustavo Bou chipped a lovely ball over Diop. Yet unlike his 2019 chip, Gustavo’s chip was far too left and rolled out of bounds foe a goal kick.
In the 63rd minute, Cristian Penilla delivered a perfectly placed ball to Adam Buksa. Unfortunately, Buksa was just a tad too late and was unable to capitalize on a perfectly placed pass from Penilla
The Revolution took a total of nineteen shots during Thursday’s game. Only four of those shots made it on net. Now math isn’t my strong suit, but that’s only 21%! Again I’ll chalk it up to general rustiness when it comes to competing in an environment like last night, but if the Revs are looking to make a deep run in the “MLS is Back” tournament or the 2020 season, they need to have more shots on goal and capitalize on them. Although I am fairly certain that this issue will be eliminated after shaking off the rust
With the help of Matt Turner in goal along with the offensive abilities of Carles Gil, the Revolution were able to secure a 1-0 victory and more importantly, three points in the “MLS is Back” tournament and 2020 season. At the end of the day, a win is a win, but the Revs need to buckle down and continue to improve if they are looking to make it far. In my honest opinion, now that the opening day butterflies and jitters are subsided, I believe the Revolution are now in the position to grasp the reigns and have a real impact on the “MLS is Back” tournament and 2020 season.
Remember to check out our post game recap for a more in depth look at Thursday’s 1-0 victory over the Montreal Impact!
Also remember to check back for continuing coverage of the Revolution’s run in the “MLS is Back” tournament and beyond!