It was a snowy Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium but that didn’t stop the New England Revolution from picking up the 3-0 victory.
It might not have been a full stadium but the excitement was in the air as Concacaf Champions League play returned to New England.
Here's how we line up tonight vs. @PumasMX #NERevs | #SCCL22— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) March 9, 2022
There were some changes to the starting XI as Arnór Traustason got his first start of the season. Tommy McNamara ended up on the bench thanks to this move and Brad Knighton also made his return to the bench after missing games due to a head injury. With Henry Kessler missing the game due to a hamstring injury, Omar Gonzalez started alongside Andrew Farrell.
Also of note, Wilfrid Kaptoum failed to make the matchday squad.
So what do you need to know? Here are three thoughts from the match.
1 - Strong start
The Revs got off to a strong start in the snow. New England quickly earned a corner and was putting pressure on Pumas. It was clear from the start that Pumas would be playing defensive and hoping to score on the second leg down in Mexico.
It took a while but eventually the Revs struck as DeJuan Jones combined and Carles Gil would assist on Lletget’s second goal of his Revolution career.
New England was especially able to find success on the counter, with Jones bombing up the wing. The left back is playing some of the best soccer of his career.
2 - DeJuan Jones appreciation
Can we just talk about how well DeJuan Jones has been playing? The left back has been arguably the best player on the Revs roster.
Jones just looks so confident out on the pitch. He is taking on defenders with no fear and making some great moves. Jones’ pace also makes it quite easy for him to blow by defenders.
Doesn’t that remind you of someone? It should. That sounds a whole lot like Tajon Buchanan. While Jones might not be on Buchanan’s level yet, he certainly has come a long way. With how well he is playing, expect Europe to be calling.
After 45 minutes on Wednesday, Jones completed 92 percent of his passes while having 37 touches. He was whipping balls into the box and helping jump start the Revs attack.
Jones is clearly the best left back in MLS right now. He has continued to improve and that should scare the rest of the league.
3 - A striker finally strikes
Revolution fans were getting worried that New England might leave Wednesday with only one goal but Adam Buksa saved the day.
Buksa made a great run in the 72nd minute and after originally having his shot saved, the Polish striker gave New England a 2-0 lead.
To Buksa’s credit, he was sniffing around goal the entire game. He continued to be a beast in the air and also made even more great runs.
The 25-year-old became the first Revs striker to find the back of the net this season. Hopefully it’s the first of many for Buksa.
That wasn’t it for Buksa who also scored in extra time to give New England a crucial 3-0 lead. Heading to Mexico, New England can feel confident that they can move on to the next round.
New England returns to MLS play on Saturday as they welcome Scotty Caldwell home and face Real Salt Lake.