The New England Revolution collected their second shutout of the season when they defeated Inter Miami CF 2-0 on Saturday night. There were a few factors behind the team’s defensive success, including a full-strength backline and tactical switch.
Matt Turner made his return from injury on Saturday to support defenders DeJuan Jones, Henry Kessler, Andrew Farrell, and Brandon Bye. Turner, who is the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, missed the start of the season with a foot injury. He was asked to make three saves in his first game back in the net.
“He communicates well. That part is noticeable,” head coach Bruce Arena praised. “He’s very experienced and to have the last line of defense with that goalkeeper is a real positive.”
Kessler has also seen limited action this year as he was hampered with a hamstring injury and later missed a game due to illness. Including Saturday, Turner has contributed 360 minutes in five games (four starts).
Kessler played the second half of last week’s game against D.C. United. His stats for those 45 minutes include being 48/53 on accurate passes, 1/1 on ground duels, and 6/7 on aerial duels. He also had seven recoveries.
Kessler had solid numbers for Saturday’s 90-minute performance as he was 74/78 on accurate passes, 1/2 on ground duels, and 2/4 on aerial duels. He managed eight recoveries.
“I think getting Kessler back in is really important,” Arena said. “He’s our best defender, so we need him in there. Getting him back in and bringing Matt back in was important.”
There were other variables that contributed to Saturday’s success, including a first-minute goal from Damien Rivera, first-half injuries to Leonardo Campana and Aimé Mabika, and second-half ejections for Damion Lowe and Quinteros.
The Revs also lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Matt Polster and Tommy McNamara protecting the backline. The move away from the 4-4-2 diamond was done to create some defensive stability.
“I think we’ve been susceptible to counter attacks and whatever the reasons are for it, whoever knows,” Arena explained. “Everyone will say it’s this or that. And, you know, I just don’t think our team reacted, but I think playing with the two 6’s or two 6’s/8’s in those positions gives us a little more stability in the midfield.”