For the first time this season, Andrew Farrell wasn’t in the starting lineup for the New England Revolution. This put Henry Kessler in a leadership role, which he aptly filled.
Farrell and Kessler have been regular partners at center back for the past two years. Kessler has learned a lot from the Revs’ all-time appearance leader, which is why he was so prepared to lead the back line during Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Fire.
“[Farrell] didn’t give me any advice but I think if it was maybe last year, he would have,” the second-year defender said. “I think he’s taught me a lot over the two years that I’ve been here. So, I don’t think there was anything he necessarily needs to tell me today.”
With Farrell out, Kessler played right center back with the left-footed Jon Bell featuring on the left. Bell has established himself as a serviceable back-up for the Revs with ExtraTime’s David Gass noting that he could be starting for several MLS clubs.
That said, Bell is still only nine games into his MLS career. This meant that Kessler had to step up to keep the team organized.
“I think I just need to be more vocal, because [Farrell’s] obviously very vocal when he’s on the field,” Kessler said. “So, I needed to kind of take that role a little bit more and make sure my presence was felt vocally.”
Kessler was big in the 3-2 win, scoring a goal and making a goal-line clearance. Although Farrell will almost certainly be back in the starting lineup as the Revs look to lock up the Supporters’ Shield, Wednesday’s game is proof that Kessler is a confident and reliable MLS defender.
King Kess will get another opportunity to show off his reliability as the Revolution go up against Daryl Dike and Orlando City on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium. Even with the likely return of Andrew Farrell and other key players to the starting XI, it will still be another big test for the second-year center back.