The New England Revolution were able to tally three points and maintain their lead atop the Eastern Conference.
A couple days removed and a lot has changed. Atlanta United needs a new manager and Josef Martinez now seems recommitted to the club.
So what stood out after rewatching New England’s performance against Atlanta? Here are three thoughts.
1 - Arena appears to have found way to play all 3 DP’s
Credit to Bruce Arena for finally finding a way to get all three of his Designated Players on the field.
New England had primarily been using a lone striker but decided to switch things up playing a 4-4-2 in the loss to Toronto FC.
Against Atlanta, Arena switched things up. The head coach utilized a diamond midfield that allowed for Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou to be paired up top, but still have Carles Gil in a more central role.
The move paid off as Buksa assisted on a Bou goal early on in the matchup that would prove to be the winner.
When Tajon Buchanan returns Arena might have some tough decisions to make, it appears that the club has finally found a way to get all of their DP’s on the field in the starting XI.
2 - Backline problems fixed for now
It might have been against a depleted Atlanta United, but anytime you record a clean sheet it is worth celebrating.
While New England still had some lapses, the backline did a rather good job. Particularly Henry Kessler had another great performance for the Revs.
Kessler continues to improve on the ball while also making some great tackles and plays on defense. It’s almost stunning to think that not so long ago he was coming off the bench.
For right now New England’s best center back pairing is Kessler and Farrell. There’s no doubt about it.
Saturday was just another great performance from Kessler. It will be much harder for Arena to take him out of the lineup now.
3 - Give us more Wilfrid Kaptoum and Christian Mafla
Two players who Revolution fans haven’t seen a lot got some playing time on Saturday.
Wilfrid Kaptoum got the start and played 60 minutes. “Kap” played a major role in the lone goal with his impressive cross, but overall he just looked comfortable back on the pitch.
Kaptoum has the skills to make some impressive plays and you saw them on display against Atlanta.
Also with DeJuan Jones forced to come out of the game with some sort of lower-body injury, Christian Mafla got his first minutes since the beginning of the season.
While Mafla didn’t play a ton, it was simply nice to see New England get to use him. He obviously will be someone who attempts to join the attack forward, but the Revs will need him to do well defensively if they want to be successful.
Kaptoum seems the closest to making a claim for a starting spot. New England does have a stretch of games coming up, but hopefully Kaptoum will continue to get time in the starting XI. After the game, Kaptoum told the media he is looking to put his injuries behind him, so Revs fans should expect to see him a lot more.
Mafla still needs to build some fitness, but the pressure is on Jones. He will need to make a case that he should continue to start over Mafla.