With the international break in the rearview mirror, New England looked to finish its season strong. They have been the best team in MLS this entire season, why lower the standard when if you can just keep winning?
With Tajon Buchanan, Matt Turner, and Adam Buksa returning from World Cup Qualifiers, fans shouldn’t have expected to see a full-strength starting XI, but they got something close to that.
Besides the inclusion of Kaptoum and Bunbury, this is likely the starting XI you will see in the playoffs. Saturday was a big chance for Kaptoum to show he was deserving of more minutes. Also, Revs fans were happy to see Ema Boateng return to the bench after missing some time due to injury.
So what do fans need to know about Saturday’s match? Here are three thoughts.
1 - Rusty Revs
In a stunning turn of events after a 16-day layoff, the Revolution got off to a slow start against the Fire. The club’s overall sharpness wasn’t there and this was especially the case in the final third.
New England struggled to connect on crosses and found it difficult to get shots on target as they entered the half 0-0. Also near the end of the half, the back line struggled and allowed Chicago some juicy scoring chances, but Turner was on top of his game and the Fire failed to convert.
The performance was especially concerning seeing that it's likely that New England has an even longer break heading into the playoffs. Bruce Arena might need to come up with some ways to keep his guys even fresher.
That rust ended up costing the Revs as they lost out on 3 points due to not finishing out the game strong. If they play like they did on Saturday in the playoffs they could be headed home much earlier than expected.
2 - Kap captures his first goal
After a first half that saw the Revs struggle in the final third, New England was able to find the back of the net quite quickly in the second.
In the 47th minute, Kaptoum launched a grounder that had eyes and was able to find the back of the net. While the lead wouldn’t last long, the goal was a big one for Kap.
The midfielder has struggled since coming to MLS but could be finding his form at the perfect time. With Arnor Traustason appearing to be entrenched in Arena’s doghouse, the 25-year-old could compete for a cemented role off the bench or even a spot on the starting XI.
If Kaptoum has in fact found his form, an already stacked Revolution midfield has now become even deeper heading into the postseason.
3- The DP difference
With the game winding down New England needed a goal to walk away with three points and once again its designated players made the difference. While Gustavo Bou and Gil played the entire 90 minutes, Adam Buksa came on near the 60th minute and instantly made a difference.
The play of the night has to go to Gil and Bou as Gil sent a beautiful ball from just past midfield and it had to have been put on a string. The captain connected with Bou and La Pantera chipped a beautiful ball in the back of the net to give the Revolution a lead.
New England is now 20-6-4 and faces DC United on Wednesday.