On Thursday night at Gillette Stadium the New England Revolution drew with the Philadelphia Union 0-0 in an MLS regular season match. With the draw the Revolution move to 1-1-4 on the 2020 MLS season.
The main storyline from this match is New England’s continued inability to put the ball in the back of the net. New England has now played roughly 310 minutes without a goal with their last goal coming in the 51st minute of the D.C. United match back on 7/17 when Adam Buksa scored. So what changed between New England in that D.C. match and the 310ish minutes since? No Carles Gil. Gil was subbed out with an injury in the 62nd minute of that match and hasn’t played since with surgery on his left foot likely ending his 2020 season.
New England has been able to create chances and Thursday night was no different. The Revolution were able to create a total of 12 chances on the night but only ended up getting one shot on target but had 15 total shots attempted. A handful of shots careened up into The Fort as the finishing touch was nowhere to be found. Union goalkeeper Andre Blake who was solid positionally all night was barley tested with just one save on the night. On the other side of the pitch, Matt Turner was putting the Revs on his back.
“I think there’s frustration because we didn’t win the game,” said Revolution defender Andrew Farrell. “I think we were, for the most part, the better team. I think we created a lot of great chances. We know those guys are great players up top and we’re creating the chances, so I think if we weren’t creating the chances we’d be a little more frustrated, but obviously there’s frustration when we’re not winning games and I think we had the better chances though. But yes, defensively I’m happy with how we’re playing. There’s things that we can tweak and do better – they had a couple chances Matt [Turner] came up big on. But it’s a whole team effort on the defensive side. And offensively we’ve got to just keep on hammering, getting in the box, and finishing our chances. But the goals will come, we’re creating chances like I said, so hopefully they come next Tuesday.”
Matt Turner Puts New England On His Back, Polster With A Solid Debut
Turner, a favorite to compete for the USMNT starting job, made a total of five saves on the night including a handful of massive second-half saves. Any other goalkeeper would have conceded goals on Thursday night, but not Turner. The 26-year-old has now had two consecutive clean sheets and three of his five starts this season have been clean sheets. Not bad.
There were a handful of other things to like on Thursday night including the performance of newcomer Matt Polster. Polster who came over from Rangers FC during the MLS is Back Tournament played a full 90 minutes. A full 90-minutes from the 27-year-old is impressive considering his last competitive match came in March. Polster had 74 touches in the midfield on the night led the team in passes with 65. He was rather crisp with an impressive 89.2% passing accuracy. Polster was also credited with two tackles. Could have been more aggressive in certain situations but he was head and shoulders above what Wilfried Zahibo would have provided in that role.
“I thought he played well,” said Revolution Assistant Coach Richie Williams. “He’s been settling in. To go 90 minutes and he hasn’t played in a game in a long time, he really pushed through it. I thought he was good with the ball. He was strong in the midfield. He obviously picked up a caution, but he made some good tackles with pressure, won balls on their midfield against their attackers. He distributes the ball well. He plays a very good ball forward. I thought he had a good game. Against, not easy coming into a new team, especially having not played in a while.”
“I think I tired a little bit in the last five or 10 minutes but I thought I was still able to get to second balls, still put in a couple tackles and get up and down the pitch a couple times,” said Revolution midfielder Matthew Polster. “I feel fine for 90. We’ll see how I recover. I do pretty well when I recover so I’m not too concerned about that either. I settled in a little bit. I think I was a bit excited, nervous, a little bit of everything finally playing my first game, my first 90 in quite a few months, obviously. I settled in a little bit. I still think we have to work on our movements off the ball to create passing lanes for each other and I think that’s how we’ll all settle into the game much easier. I think we lacked a little bit of off-the-ball movement tonight.”
The Road Ahead
New England never get results against the Union and Thursday night was no different. Philly played an additional two matches than the Revs in the MLS is Back Tournament and despite having a rather lengthy lay-off the Revs were the better team on the night. Replacing Carles Gil is impossible but getting a few players to step up and piece it together is a necessity. Goals have to come and soon.
“What’s missing is just the final touch,” said Revolution defender Andrew Farell. “We did a great job creating chances, we’ve already talked about how when Carles [Gil] went out with an injury it was going to be tough to create the chances because he was our best player or top two player. So I think creating those chances was huge. I think Kelyn [Rowe], Teal [Bunbury], [Cristian] Penilla, Gustavo [Bou], Adam [Buksa], guys who came off creating chances, [Alexander] Buttner and Brandon [Bye] going off, it’s just that final touch. Sometimes it’s the easiest thing to do, just that happen. But sometimes it’s the hardest thing and you’ve got to make that run, someone has to make that run to the front post and make that selfless run to open up space at the back post. It’s something that we’ve been working on and creating the chances but like I said it’s just we’ve got to get that final touch. I am very confident in those guys that it will come.”
New England will now hit the road with a match on Tuesday July 25th at D.C. United. The Revs will have one more day of rest than D.C. who will play FC Cincinnati on Friday night at 7:30 p.m.