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Revs v. Atlanta: Three Thoughts

It was an active night for the DPs, plus two more thoughts from Revs v. Atlanta

SOCCER: JUL 17 MLS - New England Revolution at Atlanta United FC Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Revolution collected three points on Saturday night when they defeated Atlanta United 1-0. Here are three thoughts from the game:

1. It was an active night for the Designated Players. For the second straight game, Bruce Arena used a starting lineup that featured Carles Gil, Gustavo Bou, and Adam Buksa. The trio was lively as all three ending up in the Revs’ top five in terms of touches. Gil led the way with 58, Buksa finished fourth with 46, and Bou was fifth with 45. Each player was able to showcase their attacking abilities as Gil collected five key passes, Buksa two, and Bou one. Of course, Buksa earned an assist on Bou’s game-winning goal.

This most recent outing saw the Revs play with three central midfielders behind their Designated Players. We could continue to see this setup, but the team might revert to the 4-2-3-1, especially when Tajon Buchanan returns from international duty. Switching back to a 4-2-3-1 could affect how many DPs feature in the starting lineup. That said, it does look like the trio is building chemistry.

2. The defense collected their first shutout since May 29. During the five-game stretch between shutouts, the Revs conceded 11 goals and scored 11 goals. Their record was 2-2-1, which was enough to keep them atop the Eastern Conference. Saturday’s result was a welcome reprieve for a team that was regularly allowing two or more goals.

That said, we need to recognize that Atlanta’s attack was pretty dull. They were missing Josef Martinez, something the ESPN broadcast wouldn’t let you forget.

Still, there were moments where Atlanta caused the Revs problems, which is a sign that the backline still has things to work on. They’re particularly vulnerable when their opponent plays long, direct balls. A moment of danger occurred when Atlanta played a ball over Andrew Farrell’s head. The center back scrambled a bit, giving his opponent too much space. The final shot was quickly neutralized, but it was a reminder that this team hasn’t fixed everything.

3. It was tough to see DeJuan Jones leave the field. Jones was subbed off in the 72nd minute in a move that looked injury-related as we saw him limping before his exit. Jones wasn’t expected to be the starting left back this season, but he’s been excellent while Christian Mafla has struggled with injuries. He’s constantly running up and down the field and has gotten much better when it comes to crossing with his left foot. He’s a guy you want to root for.

Arena had no update regarding Jones in the post-game press conference. If he needs time off, Mafla could be the one to start at left back as he played 18 minutes against Atlanta United.