The New England Revolution concluded their Canadien road trip with a whimper as they were defeated by CF Montreal.
New England boasted a starting XI with some fresh faces. Esmir Bajraktarevic got his first MLS start. This comes after the midfielder made his MLS debut against Toronto on Wednesday night.
Jon Bell and A.J. DeLaGarza also entered the starting XI after long spells on the sidelines. This is Bell’s first start since July 16 and DeLaGarza’s first start since June 26. Bruce Arena also added another wrinkle, deploying DeLaGarza as a midfielder.
It was also a milestone night as Tommy McNamara made his 200th MLS appearance and Matt Polster earned his 125th MLS start.
CF Montreal boasted a strong lineup led by Romell Quioto, Victor Wanyama, and Kamal Miller but were missing a major piece as Djordje Mihailovic was absent from the match-day squad. The midfielder is rumored to be nearing a transfer to AZ Alkmaar.
So what do you need to know about New England’s latest win in the Maple Syrup Derby? Here are three thoughts.
1 - The kid is alright
In his first MLS start, Bajraktarevic showed exactly why he was called up to the first team at such a young age.
The 17-year-old looked calm on the pitch and showed his skill. It was quite impressive to see Bajraktarevic nutmeg a player within the first 15 minutes.
Overall it was a solid start for a player of his age. He made some good runs and played 90 minutes. With the Revs banged up and playing their second match of the week, it was beneficial that he was able to give some other players a break.
2 - Revolution killer
While Kei Kamara is remembered fondly by Revolution fans for the time he spent in New England, the veteran striker put Montreal up 1-0 before the first half ended. Kamara got his foot on a ball from Quioto and Petrovic couldn’t do anything to keep the ball out of the net.
Kamara has actually done quite well against the Revs. His 11 regular season goals against New England is the second most in MLS history with Jaime Moreno at the top of the list with 14 goals.
While Revs fans never want to go down a goal, a goal from Kamara hurts a little bit less than normal.
3 - Back line bundles it
After a game where players such as Omar Gonzalez and Andrew Farrell excelled, New England’s back line struggled. While the first goal was a good play by Quioto and Kamara, the second was a defending disaster.
As usual, the Revolution outside backs were high up the field and Brandon Bye had the ball on the flank. After getting by his opponent a few possessions prior, Bye was dispossessed and Montreal was off to the races.
Farrell came racing up the field to try and stifle the attack but his slide tackle whiffed and Montreal continued racing towards Farrell. With Quioto eventually receiving a pass in the box all alone, Petrovic was left out to dry and could do nothing to stop the goal.
Farrell’s night got even worse when Quioto toasted the defender on his way to scoring the third goal of the match. In a rare sight, the defender was taken off in the 62nd minute and was replaced by Gonzalez.
Clearly the Revs injuries and the congested schedule caught up to them. While the back line showed some signs of wear, New England’s attack struggled as well only registering 1 shot in the first half. Justin Rennicks in particular looked like he had some heavy legs.
With the loss, New England falls to seventh place in the Eastern Conference but holds on to the last playoff spot due to a tiebreaker.
The Revs will have some time to learn from the loss as they don’t play until the 28th, but the matchup is a fierce one with Chicharito and the LA Galaxy coming to Gillette Stadium.