For the majority of their match against FC Cincinnati, the New England Revolution were on the front foot putting constant pressure on goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer in the home net.
And for seventy minutes Vermeer and some solid if occasional frantic defending was enough to keep the Revs off the board, until a Carles Gil free kick from the edge of the box and the endline found the head of Adam Buksa on the back post.
During the first half, the Revs were able to generate lots of chances, mostly from crosses into Buksa though none were able to find the target. The Revs striker had seven shots on the night, but only one on target which proved to be the decisive shot. It was Buksa in the 10th minute that had the Revs best chance, when a Gil free kick went through the box and came off the post only to be stuffed out by some emergency defending from Cincy. Arnor Traustason similarly had a close range shot deflected wide in the first half.
Vermeer however was also up to the task producing some stellar saves, most notable by getting a hand on a rocket from Brandon Bye first half stoppage time to keep the match scoreless at the break. Jurgen Locadia had a flurry of chances in the middle of the first half to ease some of the pressure on Cincy’s backline, only for Matt Turner and the Revs defense to stand tall. The Revs piled on about 20 shots in the opening half, 21 according the graphic below that might have been updated later, but could not get enough on frame to further test Vermeer.
HT: Hey remember when the #NERevs didn't shoot hardly at all and couldn't generate chances...yeah, that's not a problem today. #FCCincy getting a lot of feet in to block these and Vermeer has been stellar. #CINvNE pic.twitter.com/6VuBlO5yKe— Jake Catanese (@JCatanese43) May 29, 2021
Twice in the second half the Revs nearly had a breakthough with Buksa again at the forefront, this time the Revs striker unable to get a clean shot off near the hour mark from a centering pass from Jones after a blocked shot was sent back into the Cincy box by the Revs fullback. Buksa would have a similar attempt a few minutes after his goal as well go for naught.
The Revs goal however was a well worked set piece, drawn by the ever crafty and shifty Tajon Buchanan, who broke a double team at the attacking endline and was fouled by Yuya Kubo. The ensuing odd angled set piece was floated in perfectly by Gil and nodded down by Buksa into the nearside goal.
However, after the opening goal, the Revs began to sit back a bit and Cincy searched for an equalizer. One of their best chances came in the 82nd minute, when Brandon Vazquez had a great look on the right hand side of the box only to have his near post shot parried out for a corner. A last gasp stoppage time header from Geoff Cameron sailed over the bar and the Revs closed out their first home victory of the year.
With the win the Revs extended their lead atop the MLS Eastern Conference standings over Orlando City, who lost to the New York Red Bulls 2-0 earlier in the afternoon. The Revs now lead the conference with 17 points from eight games, five points ahead of OCSC who have a game in hand.
While the Revs might still be searching for that decisive performance on the scoreboard, this was one of their most complete performances of the year. While the on target shooting percentage is still on the low side, the Revs were consistently dangerous from open play and set pieces on the night and were without the services of Gustavo Bou who was held out as a precaution with a minor knock in training earlier in the week.
MLS league play will go on hiatus for the upcoming international fixture break, where the United States will play in the CONCACAF Nations League semifinals, Tajon Buchanan might make his full senior debut with Canada who continues their World Cup Qualifying campaign, and Arnor Traustason and Iceland will play friendlies against Mexico, the Faroe Islands, and Poland though Traustason will join the squad after the Mexico match.
The New England Revolution return to league play on Saturday, June 19th when they travel to Red Bull Arena not to play the Red Bulls, but New York City FC for a 7:38pm kickoff.