The New England Revolution returned to action Saturday evening as they traveled to Exploria Stadium to take on Orlando City SC in an Eastern Conference six-pointer.
Bruce Arena and the Revs looked to overcome their recent woes as they searched for their first in seven matches. The last time the Revolution walked away with three points came on June 19th, when they beat Minnesota at home 2-1. They’ve gone 0-4-2 since their last win.
The Revs entered in eleventh place of the East. While that may be alarming on paper, the Eastern Conference is extremely tight entering the home stretch. Only three points separated the Revolution from their opponent, who entered the contest in fifth place in the East.
New England was without two big stars as sources close to our own Seth Macomber reported that Gustavo Bou and Dylan Borrero were unavailable for the match. Their absences marked the third and second match missed by Bou and Borrero, respectively. A concern considering Bruce Arena noted the duo was good to go after “minor leg injuries.”
Bou and Borrero were not the only names unavailable for the Revs, as rookie goalkeeper Jacob Jackson is out for the year following surgery to repair his left ACL. Defender Jon Bell was listed on the injury report as out with a head injury.
The good news for the Revolution is that Orlando has struggled at home in 2022. Through eleven matches at home, Orlando had a losing record of 5-6-0 at home. The bad news, it was a hot and humid night in Orlando. The feel-like temperature reached 95 degrees at kickoff as the humidity reached 63%.
Bruce Arena slightly adjusted the formation of the Revs as he moved to a 4-3-2-1 formation. Djordje Petrović was in goal as DeJuan Jones, Henry Kessler, Andrew Farrell, and Brandon Bye composed the backline. Maciel, Matt Polster, and Wilfried Kaptoum took the midfield, while Tommy McNamara and Carles Gil played under the lone striker, Justin Rennicks.
Revolution newcomer Christian Makoun was on the bench as he looked to make his first appearance since being acquired by the Revs ahead of the transfer deadline.
Justin Rennicks came close to putting the Revs on the board in the 17th minute. He leaped into the air and attempted to head a cross from DeJuan Jones into the back of the net. Unfortunately, Rennicks jumped a tad too early as the ball sailed over his head.
The Revolution generated a phenomenal team goal in the 20th minute. It began as Henry Kessler headed the ball from midfield forward to Tommy McNamara. McNamara cut the ball back to Gil, who looked to push the ball forward. Gil avoided the pressure applied by Orlando as he cut the ball back to Wilfried Kaptoum. Kaptoum found Tommy McNamara outside the box. McNamara sent the ball forward towards Justin Rennicks. Rennicks with a perfect dummy and shielding as he pressures the Orlando defender back as Matt Polster ran onto the ball. Polster lasered the ball into the bottom left corner of the net to notch his second goal of the season as the Revs took a 1-0 lead on the road.
Rennicks was at the right place at the right time in the 27th minute as Alexandre Pato’s close-range shot deflected off the striker and away from danger.
Djordje Petrović flashed the gloves in the 33rd minute as Pato sent a dangerous shot on the Revs goal. Petrović got onto the ball as he deflected it out for a corner kick.
Wilfried Kaptoum extended the Revolution’s lead in the 52nd minute. It all started as Tommy McNamara drove up the right flank as his eyes caught an open Kaptoum atop the box. Instinctively, McNamara whipped a pass over to Kaptoum. Despite the pass having some bounce to it, and the Orlando defense pressuring in, Kaptoum was able to lift his right foot and volleyed it into the back of the net. The Cameroonian’s first goal in a Revolution jersey. Tommy McNamara also earned his second assist of the night.
Facundo Torres nearly ended Djordje Petrović’s clean sheet streak in the 60th minute as he sent a left-footed shot towards the right side of the net. Thankfully, Torres’ shot leaned too far to the right as it bounced off the right goal post and out.
The Revs first substitution came in the 63rd minute as Arnór Traustason entered the game for Maciel. This may have been Traustason’s last appearance in a Revolution jersey, as reports have indicated the Icelandic midfielder may return to Sweden before their August 11th transfer deadline.
Ema Boateng checked into the match as he replaced Justin Rennicks in the 73rd minute.
Henry Kessler notched his first goal of the 2022 season in the 74th minute as he leaped into the air and headed Carles Gil’s corner kick on frame. Pedro Gallese got his fingertips to the ball, but it wasn’t enough to steer it off frame as the ball ricocheted off the right post and into the back of the net.
The final Revs substitution came in the 89th as Omar Gonzalez came on for Wilfried Kaptoum.
Despite having multiple players out injured and playing in extreme heat conditions, the Revs put on a show in Orlando as they exit Exploria Stadium with a dominant 3-0 victory.
Saturday’s victory moved the Revolution to 10th place in the East with 30 points on a 7-7-9 record. While 10th place seems scary, there is currently a four-way tie for the final playoff spot with Chicago, Orlando, and Miami.
The Revs will look to re-enter the playoff picture next Saturday, August 13th, as they host Wayne Rooney and D.C. United at 7:30 PM ET.