After the international break, the New England Revolution made their return to the pitch on Saturday but suffered their third straight loss in MLS losing 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls.
Finally the snow left New England as it was a beautiful spring night at Gillette Stadium. While Gustavo Bou was missing from the starting XI, Henry Kessler and Andrew Farrell made their returns to the pitch. Also Adam Buksa and Arnór Traustason appeared on the bench after returning from international duty.
Let's get back on track.#NERevs | #NEvRBNY— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) April 2, 2022
Brad Knighton got the start in net for New England replacing Earl Edwards Jr while Justin Rennicks and Jozy Altidore are the tandem up top.
The start for Rennicks was his first since 2019. With Edward Kizza out on loan, it’s likely he gets some more minutes compared to 2021.
So what do you need to know about Saturday’s loss? Here are three thoughts.
1 - Last minute chaos
With a man up, New England seemed poised to leave Gillette Stadium with a point. After Frankie Amaya was given his second yellow, New England had control and was putting New York under a ton of pressure.
But that all changed when an Andrew Farrell clearance deflected off of Matt Polster and into the back of the net. There was nothing that Brad Knighton could have done, it was just an extremely unlucky situation.
Now New England sits 12th in the Eastern Conference standings. While the season is far from over, this is not where the Revs and fans expected the team to be.
The club had an opportunity to get back on track and put the poor performance against Charlotte FC and other clubs behind them but now those losses are intensified.
While there is still plenty of soccer to be played, a poor run of play is concerning. New England got Farrell and Kessler back and were still unable to get the job done.
A match against Miami could serve as a cure for New England’s struggles but another loss could have fans pressing the panic button on the 2021 Supporter Shield winners.
2- New York Red Bulls? More like the New York Rangers
New York got off to a decent start with some chances on the attack but once New England found its game, the Red Bulls decided to return to their physical style of play.
The Red Bull average 22.25 fouls a game and they got off to a quick start against New England. New York finished the first half with 14 fouls including three yellow cards. Even with such a high number, the referee clearly could have called more fouls.
Carles Gil was a primary victim of the physical play as an early tackle saw him fall to the ground and limp across the pitch within the first few minutes of the match. Luckily Gil looked better as the first half progressed and played 90 minutes.
Assistant coach Richie Williams said after that in physical games such as these players need to keep their head in the game. New York would finally pay for its physicality as Frankie Amaya was sent off after his second yellow in the 73rd minute.
3 - Big Save Brad
Brad Knighton got his first start of the 2022 campaign and he delivered.
The veteran goalkeeper made two big saves in the first half showing that he was ready from the moment that opening whistle sounded. Knighton also completed over 80 percent of his passes.
Along with the stops, the 37-year-old showed great decision-making and positioning. Knighton knew when to come out and grab balls entering the box from free kicks as well as stopping corner kicks in their tracks.
The big saves continued for Knighton in the second half as he continued to be a brick wall in net. He ended the night with five saves.
It was a big performance by Knighton. With Matt Turner headed to Arsenal in the summer, this is his chance to show that he deserves the starting job. With an unlucky own goal dimming New England on Saturday night, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the 37-year-old get another run against Miami.