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Revolution v. Cincinnati: Three more thoughts

Arnor Traustason and Brandon Bye had good nights.

MLS: US Open Cup-FC Cincinnati at New England Revolution Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution advanced in the U.S. Open Cup by collecting a 5-1 win over FC Cincinnati on Wednesday night. My colleague Sam Minton provided three thoughts after the game. Here are three more for you:

1. It was a good night for Brandon Bye

The Revolution’s attack relies heavily on their outside backs. On Wednesday, Bye created four chances according to FotMob, which is twice as much as the next closest players (Haris Medunjanin and Nick Markanich each had two).

The game-winning goal is a good example of how the Revs want to play. Henry Kessler wins a header (he was 2/2 on aerial duels), allowing Arnor Traustason to collect the ball centrally. Bye fills the outside space, waiting to receive a pass from the Icelandic midfielder. When it comes, Bye creates a little separation before sending in a low cross. Tommy McNamara drops it to Carles Gil, who fires it past goalkeeper Kenneth Vermeer.

It was a very well-worked goal.

There’s a lot that I like about this moment, but I’m going to focus on Bye. He quickly recognizes the space and wastes no time getting forward. I also like that he took on his opponent before crossing because Bye often opts for early service. It’s positive to see him challenge the defender.

Bye ended the night with two assists, giving him three U.S. Open Cup helpers in four games.

2. It was also a good night for Traustason

This was a bonus thought for Sam, but I wanted to talk about it because I have some videos to share.

Wednesday was an important night for Traustason because his last appearance for the Revs came on Apr. 16 when he played two minutes against Charlotte FC. He needed a good performance to improve his position on the depth chart and he did that against Cincinnati, though it was a weakened side.

What I liked most about Traustason’s performance was that he was active. Defensively, he was coming back to provide support and pick up the ball. The play below is a simple one but look at the coverage Traustason offers when Andrew Farrell presses high.

Operating on the right, Traustason often came inside to combine, which allowed Bye to get forward. As the ball got closer to the opponent’s goal, Traustason pushed into the box to try to make something happen. He was the one who drew the penalty and head coach Bruce Arena believes that an uncalled foul in the second half could’ve resulted in a second trip to the spot.

It’s hard to say if Traustason will become a regular contributor this season since we’ve seen him have good performances before (he was fantastic when visiting Miami last year). But his performance on Wednesday deserves recognition. In fact, I made a quick highlight reel that features club music. Enjoy.

3. The game plan worked

Some people weren’t sure what to think when the Revs went with a mostly first-choice starting lineup. Some wondered if the club should prioritize the regular season and let younger players step up for the U.S. Open Cup. Those concerns were amplified when Cincinnati scored first.

The Revs rebounded though and accumulated a 5-1 lead, paving the way for five substitutions in the 60th minute. DeJuan Jones, Henry Kessler, Tommy McNamara, Carles Gil, and Adam Buksa headed to the bench, giving them a little extra rest ahead of the game against Atlanta. Arena explained that the team “should be pretty fresh for the game on Sunday.”

Playing some of the big names allowed the Revs to get a much-needed win. This adds to the momentum the team has been building as they’ve only lost once in their last five outings.

Arena did make three changes to the starting lineup: Traustason got his chance, Maciel made his first appearance since Apr. 2, and Djordje Petrovic made his Revs debut in net. These players benefited from the minutes.

Arena said post-game, “Goalkeeper has to get games with us. That’s important. Maciel has missed most of the year with injuries and things, so we have to get him back on the field. And Arnór came in because he’s an experienced guy and I wanted to give [Sebastian] Lletget a rest.”

To summarize, there isn’t a lot to complain about when it comes to Wednesday’s game.