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Henry Kessler explains why “the ball had to go”

Revolution fans can finally know the reasoning behind the infamous incident against the Philadelphia Union

MLS: New York City FC at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

New England Revolution fans have seen Henry Kessler grow a lot and he hasn’t even finished his second MLS season.

Kessler entered the league a mild-mannered kid. He quickly found his footing and had a great season at center back in 2020.

But this season there is something different about Kessler. He isn’t afraid to get in his opponent’s face and protect his teammates. Kessler isn’t just looking to fit in, he’s playing unafraid.

If an opponent goes in late on goalkeeper Matt Turner, Kessler will be there to let them know they just made a very big mistake. The 23-year-old also hasn’t been afraid to remind opposing attackers of the score and appears to have taken some diving lessons to try and waste some time at the end of the matches.

One of Kessler’s recent use of the dark arts won’t be forgotten for a long time. It actually has the potential to be one of those plays that stays in MLS lore for eternity.

As the Revolution were trying to ice out a win in Philadelphia down a man, Kessler launched the ball into the stands (with his feet) for a Union throw in, but before a Philly player could reach the next ball, the center back would grab the ball from its holder and did his best Mac Jones impression tossing it into the stands.

So what was going through the 23-year-old’s head during that moment? I was lucky enough to find out.

“I think the ball had to go,” Kessler said. “The first one had to go, then I saw the second one and I was on the sideline out of position, so I thought the second one had to go as well. Obviously, it was a yellow card and I’ll take that one and I’ll take the fine too.”

Even some of his teammates who were on the field were surprised by the course of events. Speaking to the media, Tommy McNamara spoke about what it was like seeing that happen on the field.

“My reaction, I was a little bit surprised in the moment, but I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, at the end of the day, we’re competing to win games and we were trying to see that game out and do everything that we needed to do the come away with three points. We’re paid to win games for this club and for this fan base. Yeah, and so it was what it was.”

It seems as though Kessler has been making an effort to establish himself on the field. He confirmed that after the win on Saturday.

“Definitely be physical,” he said. “Definitely be physical, not trying to get yellow cards but certainly set the tone, if you will. So, definitely, like you said, establish myself.”

It’s safe to say that Kessler has established himself in MLS and gifted Revolution fans with a moment that they will never forget.