On Saturday, the New England Revolution beat Sporting KC 1-0 on a Teal Bunbury goal. Here are three thoughts from the game.
- It’s a goal. When Teal Bunbury scored in the 44th minute, I was sure he was offside because he was well behind the defense. As such, I was confused when referee David Gantar sought advice from the Video Assistant Referee. Ultimately, it was ruled that the goal would stand, a decision that was verified by replays. If you watch the tape, you can see that Roger Espinoza taps the ball forward. In fact, I have no doubt that the ball would have gone in a different direction if Diego Fagundez was the one that hit it. It was a strange goal, but it was definitely a goal.
- It was a good night defensively. Heading into Saturday’s game, Sporting KC had only been shut out once, amassing 20 goals in eight games. While the team lacks a clinical no. 9, SKC certainly knows how to put the ball in the back of the net. It didn’t happen against the Revs, however, because their opponent was well-organized. The Revs pressured high, which prevented SKC from gaining momentum through possession. At one point in the game, Sporting passed all along their backline, struggling to find a way to breakthrough. With passing proving to be difficult, SKC often went long. Here, Matt Turner proved to be vital, as he would jump off his line to neutralize any threat. Even when the Revs looked troubled, someone stepped up to bail them out. For example, Andrew Farrell made a clutch save off the line. The team wasn’t perfect defensively, but they were solid and that’s cause for praise.
- The Revs are going to make the playoffs. During preseason, I predicted that the Revs were going to miss the postseason for the third consecutive year. Now that I’ve seen the team play, I retract that statement. Besides the season opener against the Philadelphia Union, the team has looked organized and committed. It seems that every player knows his role, an important detail when playing a high press system. I’m sure the team is going to have bumps along the away (I’m still not convinced about the backline), but I feel confident that they’ll grab a playoff spot. Part of this has to do with how many teams make it. I fully believe that the Revs are better than the Philadelphia Union, Montreal Impact, Chicago Fire, and D.C. United. From there, they just have to beat out either the New York Red Bulls, Orlando City, or Columbus Crew SC. That seems like a doable task. The only thing that would change my position is if any of these teams have an active summer transfer window.