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Henry Kessler more comfortable against D.C. United in 1-0 win

After being called out by Bruce Arena after the first game of the season, Henry Kessler and the Revolution back line performed well against D.C. United.

MLS: D.C. United at New England Revolution Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Anytime that you shut out an opponent is reason to salute the effort of the back line. That’s especially the case after New England’s rough start to the 2021 season. This was especially the case for Henry Kessler.

Kessler had an offseason to remember after a great rookie season. He joined Matt Turner in January camp for the United States Men’s National Team. Kessler also was a part of the U-23 squad who failed to qualify for the Olympics and frequented the starting XI.

But the start of the 2021 MLS season was a rough one for Kessler. He didn’t look like the same player that Revs fans saw in 2020. The 22-year-old struggled under pressure and failed to make key clearances.

On Saturday against D.C. United, Kessler looked much better. He was quality under pressure and simply looked much more comfortable out on the field. Kessler also seems to have improved on the ball including a great long ball to Brandon Bye.

Kessler was asked if he felt more comfortable alongside Andrew Farrell in the home opener, and his thoughts on his performance after the 1-0 win.

The center back said, “I think this kind of goes into preseason. I was only really able to play with Andrew once during preseason and it was against LAFC in last preseason game. I’d been playing a different system with the [U.S.] Under-23 [National Team] so to just refamiliarize myself with our system and you know refamiliarize myself with Andrew, it was always going to take a little time. And I think with each game we’ll get more and more comfortable. And I think today we trended in the right direction, obviously, the clean sheet was really good. And then for myself, solid performance. A clean sheet is really good as a center back, that’s always a top priority just after winning. So, a decent performance. I mean obviously not a perfect game, I think there’s still things I can work on, but solid.”

Treading in the right direction seems to be the general consensus for the Revs. After walking away with a draw in their first matchup of the season, New England was at least able to get the victory and now are at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

Kessler also seems to be heading in the right direction. He was solid in the back and almost won the Revs a penalty kick after he was brought down in the box.

Saturday’s performance is what Revolution fans expect to see from Kessler. Hopefully, this is the type of performance that is the standard for him in 2021.