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New England Revolution 2, Chicago Fire 2: Three more thoughts

The Revs haven’t been sharp defensively, plus two more thoughts.

MLS: Chicago Fire at New England Revolution Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution tied the Chicago Fire 2-2 on Saturday night. Here are three thoughts from the game to supplement those from Sam Minton:

1. The Revolution haven’t been sharp defensively. The Revs have only secured one shutout in their last seven games dating back to the start of September. They’re undefeated during this stretch as they’ve conceded eight goals and scored 15 while going 5-0-2.

While the Revs have proven that they can get points regardless of the conditions, you have to imagine that they’ll want to be tighter in the back during the playoffs. This means that players should be ready to close down their opponents, especially in zone 14. The Revs also have to be keyed in after they score a goal.

Keep an eye on the right side of the field because Brandon Bye has been caught ball watching recently. Head coach Bruce Arena noted, “It’s got to get better, for sure.”

2. Gustavo Bou has become a well-rounded player. When Bou first arrived in MLS, it was his shooting that captured everyone’s attention. The Argentine striker averaged 4.36 shots per game in 2019 (61 shots, 25 on target, 9 goals) and 3.55 per game in 2020 (64 shots, 22 on target, 5 goals).

This year he’s been asked to take on more playmaking responsibilities. It’s something that he’s really good at as made evident by the career-high seven assists he’s collected this season. The playmaking also diversifies the Revs’ attack.

Still, Bou knows how to find the back of the net. He’s currently the team’s top scorer despite averaging just 2.7 per game (71 shots, 30 on target, 14 goals). Some of these goals have been worldies, which we’ve come to expect from Bou. Others have been simple finishes from creative runs. Saturday’s game was a nice reminder of what Bou can do when facing the goal, as he took six shots en route to scoring a beautiful chip.

3. Let’s give it up for Tommy McNamara. McNamara and Andrew Farrell lead the Revs in appearances this year. You’d expect Farrell, but McNamara is a surprise.

Having made just two appearances for the Houston Dynamo in 2020, the New York native was at a low point in his career when he was traded to the Revs. The trip north was good for him as he’s been a constant presence for Bruce Arena. In fact, it looks like he’s going to be a starter come the MLS Playoffs.

McNamara is steady with the ball at his foot and aggressive when working defensively. His willingness to play any position helps him get on the field. In short, McNamara is the type of player you want to have in your locker room.

Bonus thought: Saturday marked the Revolution’s biggest home crowd of the season as the attendance was announced as 28,414. It certainly wasn’t a boring game, but it’s a real shame the Revs didn’t get a win in front of such a passionate group of fans.