The New England Revolution took a short drive down I-95 to take on D.C. United. The Revs returned to action just four days after scrapping out a point after a disappointing 2-2 draw at home against the Chicago Fire.
Bruce Arena and a self-described “pissed” Revs squad looked to buckle down and walk out of Audi Field with all three points as they continue their historic 2021 campaign, which could not only see the Revs clinch their first Supporters’ Shield but break LAFC’s record for most points in an MLS season which stands at 72.
Only two changes were made to the starting XI from Saturday as Adam Buksa and Tajon Buchanan returned to the starting lineup after appearing as subs in the previous match as they looked to get back into the swing of things with the Revs after returning from international call-ups for their respective nations.
Wednesday’s match was not going to be easy for the Revs. Although D.C. entered with a 12-12-5 record, its play at Audi Field has been above average as they bolstered a 10-3-1 record at home in 2021. However, the Revs have been one of the more dominant teams away from home this season as they held a 9-3-3 road record entering the match.
It was a rough game as neither side was timid in laying in a good challenge or two as head referee Nima Saghafi let a lot of things slide throughout the match. The breaths of Revs fans watching paused in the 4th minute as MVP front runner Carles Gil proceeded to fall to the pitch and clutch his lower left leg after being clipped by Felipe Martins. After recent injuries in that area over the past few years, it was not a good sign to see Gil wincing while grabbing at the leg. Thankfully, Gil was able to get up and continue, but it had Revs fans concerned.
Henry Kessler would come up big for the Revs defense in the 7th minute as he was able to intercept a through ball headed towards the center of the box and cleared the ball away from danger.
Gil looked to get the Revolution offense rolling in the 17th minute as he chipped a ball into the box and in the direction of a darting DeJuan Jones. Jones would get onto the end of it and drive it into the box, where he would cut towards the center and rip off a shot. Jones’ shot would deflect off a D.C. United player and away from goal.
Gil nearly added onto his assists total in the 26th minute as he again chipped the ball into the box, where it found fellow DP Adam Buksa advancing towards the net. Buksa would send a shot on the D.C. net, but Bill Hamid was all over it as he deflected it out.
Matt Polster put his body on the line in the 36th minute as he laid himself out to deflect MLS Golden Boot frontrunner Ola Kamara’s shot. Polster received the first booking after fouling Russell Canouse in the 42nd minute. Polster will miss Saturday’s road match against Orlando City due to yellow card accumulation.
Just before halftime came, Jones looked to find the opening goal as he sent a cross into the box from the left side of the pitch. Jones’ cross would sail towards an awaiting Buksa but would have the ball snagged by Hamid.
As the halftime whistle sounded, it was apparent that something was just off with this Revolution side, and no one was going to sugarcoat how bad the first half was. During his traditional halftime interview with Brad and Charlie, Bruce Arena said it was “not a good half on our part. D.C. is outworking us.” Brandon Bye would add to the Revs first half performance by saying the Revs “were going to come out in the second half better.”.
One change for the Revolution at halftime as Luis Caicedo would come on to make his third appearance of the season as he replaced Matt Polster. As the regular season nears an end, it’s great to see a guy like Caicedo work his way back into the squad after returning from an injury.
The Revs worst nightmare came in the 51st minute as Nigel Robertha found the back of the net after catching Kamara’s shot that deflected off the far-left post and back into play. After an uninspiring first half, the Revs were knocked down a peg as Robertha’s goal put D.C. United up 1-0 at the beginning of the second half. Although in an uncomfortable position, the Revs were not discouraged as they continued to bring the fight.
The atmosphere within Audi Field flipped in the 61st minute as Tommy McNamara would send a cross into the box where it found a leaping Buksa. Buksa got his head to the ball as he directed it into the bottom right corner of the net. A sigh of relief as the Revs overcame their previous woes and got themselves back into the game.
It was one thing for the Revs to find the equalizer. They now needed to find a way to find another.
Gil would be the hero just three minutes later as he would receive Gustavo Bou’s pass just outside the top of the box and proceeded to slice and dice his way through the D.C. defense. After dropping two players to the pitch, Gil would send a laser to the left side of the goal as it steamrolled past Hamid and into the back of the net.
Bou had a near-perfect chance to find a third one for the Revs in the 69th minute as Gil’s cross would send the defender marking Bou tumbling to the pitch as La Pantera found himself one on one with Hamid. Bou pulled back and sent a shot off, but it had too much power on it as it sailed out of play.
Buchanan displayed immense bravery in the 78th minute as he was not afraid to test Hamid as the goalkeeper looked to catch a deflected ball popped into the air. Buchanan sized it up as he positioned himself in the right spot to get ahead onto the falling ball before Hamid could get his hands to it. The ball would sail towards goal but took an unfortunate bounce off the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
Bou went on to net his 15th goal of the season in the 79th minute as he got on to the end of Buksa’s back heal flick inside the box and slotted the ball into the back of the net past a diving Hamid. A big goal for the Argentinian, who looked to get back on track after a few shaky performances.
All was well for the Revolution as they entered second-half stoppage time. Up 3-1 on the road, the Revs were looking to play out the remaining time and leave Audi Field with all three points. D.C. Substitute Ramón Ábila had other plans as he would find the back of the net in stoppage time as he headed home a cross from Kevin Paredes. A second goal for D.C. United was not in Bruce Arena or the squad’s plans as they needed to hold off an energized D.C. United squad for another three or so minutes. Thankfully, the Revs buckled down and saw it through as they secured their 21st win of the season with a 3-2 win over D.C. United.
With Wednesday’s victory, the Revs sit at an amusing 69 points on the 2021 campaign and are just three points away from tying LAFC’s 2019 record of 72 points in a singular MLS season.
More importantly, thanks to a draw between Seattle and Colorado, the magic number for the Revs to clinch the Supporters’ Shield title has fallen to two. The Revs can clinch the Supporters’ Shield title as early as Saturday if Sporting Kansas City can secure a win on the road over the Sounders. If not, the Revs can clinch the title on Sunday as they travel to Exploria Stadium to take on Orlando City SC at 7:30 PM ET.