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Henry Kessler returns to the starting XI against Columbus Crew

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The center back returned to the starting XI in the 2-2 draw

New England Revolution v Columbus Crew SC Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

Henry Kessler must have been happy to get the start on Saturday.

With Jon Bell getting a run of starts recently, Kessler was relegated to more of a bench role. He has been in and out of the starting XI after an impressive rookie season that saw him start a majority of the games.

Kessler was asked about sharing the position in the starting XI with Bell after the 2-2 draw.

He said, “You know, we want to be a deep team. So we want to have guys that, you know, if Andrew gets hurt, someone can step up and play for him. If other guys get hurt, someone can step up and play for them. So we want to be not just an 11-man team but 18, 20- man team. Part of that’s just been rotational. For the last five or six games we’ve rotated three players so I think that’s part of it. Conversations with Bruce have just been honest.”

But Revolution fans are well aware that Bell struggled against FC Dallas so that meant that Kessler almost had to return alongside Andrew Farrell.

Kessler played all 90 minutes against the Crew and did rather well. He showed a calmness that Bell hasn’t been able to develop yet (remember Bell primarily played left back until his time with Revs II).

Also the 23-year-old made some impressive stops and smart decisions. It will be hard for Bruce Arena to bench him with how he has performed.

After the game Arena said that Kessler had a solid performance and reminded the media that he is still a young player and has a lot to learn.

Saturday’s matchup was definitley a challenge for Kessler. He had to deal with the likes of Gyasi Zardes and Lucas Zelarayan on the attack.

DeJuan Jones was also on the left side of the field with Kessler and he was proud of how the center back performed against Columbus.

Jones said, “I thought he did a good job. He’s my partner there on the back line. There’s a lot of communication from him. He stepped in the right times, he was doing a good job with [Gyasi] Zardes, and even when he got pulled out for one-on-ones out wide, I think he was winning his one-v-one battles. I was really proud of how Kessler played tonight and hope he can continue playing like this.”

So while it was disappointing for New England to not walk away with three points, it seems like Kessler has shown that he deserves to start alongside Andrew Farrell night in and night out.