1. The Revs were more active than the Impact. Given the shortened preseason and hot conditions, we’ve seen some teams take a laid back approach to their first game of the tournament. Such was the case for Montreal, who retreated to a deep defensive shape when they lost the ball. The Revs took a different approach, as they showed a willingness to win the ball higher up the field. One of the few times the Impact did press came in the 50th minute and it led to a turnover that almost translated to a goal by Maximiliano Urruti.
The Revs were also better in transition, as they moved the ball quickly and pushed numbers forward. The Impact were generally sluggish in the attack, though they did have moments of sharpness.
In sum, the Revs were fun to watch and deserved to win.
2. Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou are hard workers. Success in this tournament is going to require big performances from special players. Nani proved this when he recorded an assist and goal to help Orlando defeat Miami FC. Gil and Bou offered superstar performances in their game with Gil creating 12 chances and Bou scoring the game-winner.
Those stats only tell part of the story because Gil and Bou were relentless the entire night and didn’t hesitate to help out defensively. Designated Players who put in that type of effort sets a standard for the team.
Adam Buksa, the team’s other DP, had a quiet night. He didn’t record a shot on target and struggled to link up with teammates, though he did create space for them. Hopefully more service leads to more memorable performances from the forward.
3. It was a solid debut for Alexander Buttner. The 31-year-old entered the season as the expected left back, but missed the first two games because of a quad strain. This created uncertainty about how much Buttner would be able to contribute. As Matt Turner explained after Thursday’s game, Buttner’s 81 minute performance “showed a lot of guys that he’s got something left in the tank.”
Buttner looked technical sound as his touch was on point and he showed an ability to take on opponents. Defensively he positioned himself well and used his body to win possession. Buttner drew a few fouls within the first 20 minutes of the game, indicating that the Impact didn’t know how to play him.
As mentioned in the first section, Montreal was a pretty tame opponent. It will be interesting to see how Buttner performs defensively when squaring off against more aggressive opponents. That said, playing aggressive opponents could create more chances for Buttner to get forward and send in crosses.