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New England Revolution: Back line a mixed bag in season opener

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The New England Revolution walked away with a point, but their back line didn’t do them any favors.

MLS: New England Revolution at Chicago Fire Eileen T. Meslar-USA TODAY Sports

The first 10 minutes of the season couldn’t have gone any worse for the New England Revolution. New England gave up two goals in a rather short period of time.

While New England was at least able to walk away with a point after roaring back with two goals, the play of their back line was concerning to say the least.

Part of the poor play can be due to rust. While the Revs played multiple friendlies in preseason, there is nothing like playing in a game that actually means something.

Overall the group just wasn’t good enough. They failed to make necessary clearances and made some sloppy turnovers.

To their credit, Brandon Bye and Andrew Farrell didn’t struggle as much as their teammates. Bye was a crucial part of the attack with some quality crosses into the box, while Farrell saved a possible goal with a quality clearance.

On the other side of the field things weren’t as great. Henry Kessler got better as the game progressed but he struggled to clear the ball at times which led to some quality chances for Chicago.

For Jones he also struggled on the ball. The left side of the field as a whole struggled to get the ball cleanly to the midfield and jumpstart New England’s attack.

Jones showed some flashes of speed and skill, but overall it wasn’t his best night. The left back was also shown a red card towards the end of the game meaning that unless the decision is reversed after an appeal, Jones will likely miss the home opener on Saturday, April 24th.

When asked about the play of the back line, Bruce Arena made sure to give credit to Bye and Farrell as well as Chicago.

He said, “I thought defensively, [Brandon] Bye and [Andrew] Farrell played very well. I think DeJuan [Jones] and Henry [Kessler] had some difficult times. Henry had to be better clearing some balls. DeJuan, defensively actually played pretty well – take away the red card at the end of the game – but on the ball, he didn’t play particularly well. It’s the first game against a good team, and they put us under a lot of pressure, and we didn’t respond that well to it.”

If the Revs want to compete for an MLS Cup they will need their back line to play much better. They need to be active from the first minute and not open the game as they did in the season opener.

Scoring goals is fun and very important but as the saying goes “defense wins championships.”