After a successful debut in Concacaf Champions League action in 2022, the New England Revolution had one more game before departing to Mexico to face Pumas UNAM in the second leg of the Quarterfinals. The good vibes will not travel with them as they drew with Real Salt Lake 2-2 on Saturday night.
The two teams hadn’t faced each other in over two years with the Revs drawing 0-0 with Real Salt Lake in September of 2019.
It was a mix of the old and the new as Scott Caldwell made his return to New England after joining Real Salt Lake in the offseason and the Revs trotted out a young squad.
Snow Game x2 ️— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) March 12, 2022
The Revolution made a boatload of changes as Jon Bell, Maciel, Ryan Spaulding (1st start of his career), WIlfrid Kaptoum, A.J. DeLaGarza got their first starts of the season. Arnor Traustason, Earl Edwards Jr., Adam Buksa Emmanuel Boateng, and Andrew Farrell were the lone players to make the starting XI two games in a row.
New England’s bench was something to feast at with Gustavo Bou, Carles Gil, Sebastian Lletget, and DeJuan Jones taking a seat.
But let’s get to the three thoughts from a wild Saturday night.
1 - Lead vanishes
The Revs blew their 2-0 lead in a fashion that is sure to upset fans. The back line failed to play a complete 90 minutes and the squad once again struggled on set pieces.
It’s interesting that this game will lead fans with a sour taste in their mouths. Multiple players said that the game should have been stopped including Carles Gil and A.J.DeLaGarza.
Gil: "It's impossible to play futbol today. I can not talk with my teammates. I can not run. I can not do anything. It's impossible. It's not futbol. Stop the f**ing game." #NERevs— Seth (@SethMan31) March 13, 2022
Still, giving up three goals in less than 15 minutes is inexcusable. Two goals in five minutes is even worse.
That is especially the case when you are playing a beat up RSL squad that didn’t even feature Damir Kreilach and David Ochoa.
The Revs seemed to have the CCL game locked away but now that confidence was gone. This lost is not something that happens to a team that can win a competition like CCL.
2 - Goateng strikes in the snow
Ema Boateng is used to coming off the bench but on Saturday he got the start and he took advantage.
The winger only had 28 touches in the first half but he managed to find the back of the net in the third minute of stoppage time in the first half. Boateng based a shot through Zac MacMath who seemed to have a hard time dealing with the weather conditions.
Boateng came out of the match in the 60th minute and ended the night completing 21 of his 28 passes, with 45 touches.
Boateng is likely relegated to a permanent bench role as New England is quite deep in the midfield. The 28-year-old is a veteran of MLS and is better served as a super sub.
It is worth being said that the Revs did play a 4-3-3 which is much more suited to Boateng’s game. In this formation, Boateng is able to utilize his pace and get past defenders.
3 - Altidore has arrived
Jozy Altidore has been warming up and coming off the bench to start his career but he officially announced his return on Saturday night.
Altidore came on in 60th minute and it didn't take long for him to make an impact. In the 62nd minute, Altidore blasted a home a Sebastian Lletget cross into the box that was deflected by Adam Buksa.
The Altidore acquisition had plenty of critics but so far it can only be described as a success. He has fit in with the team well and has been a helpful addition to New England’s bench.
Fans could see how much the goal meant to Altidore as he jumped for joy on the fort-side net. His teammates huddled around him and felt confident that they could walk away with three points.
This match was the exact reason you acquire a player like Altidore. He’s someone who can come off the bench and make an impact while also starting games when you need to rotate the squad.
It’s another testament to Bruce Arena’s ability to manage players. Altidore has bought into the Revs system and seems willing to serve whatever role he can.
There is no rest for the weary as New England now has to prepare for the second leg of the Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals on Wednesday in what is sure to be a much warmer game against Pumas.