Ema Boateng Makes the Difference Off of the Bench Once Again!

Gustavo Bou hugging Dylan Borrero

With the international break now behind us, the New England Revolution were one of a few MLS teams in action this weekend. They took to a visit to Kansas where they clashed with a struggling SKC side. A back-and-forth game eventually went the way of the Revs, thanks to Ema Boateng and his impact off of the bench. Here is how events unfolded at Children’s Mercy Park…

Ema Boateng Seals the Three Points for the Revolution

Ema Boateng Does His Best Work from the Bench

In their last outing prior to this, Sporting Kansas City succumbed to a 1-0 defeat on home soil. Lucas Cavallini’s goal from the penalty spot after 24 minutes secured the three points for Vancouver.

Peter Vermes made just two changes to the XI that lost that game, Ben Sweat and Andreu Fontas, who were both subbed off then, starting on the bench this time out. In their place, there was the veteran Graham Zusi along with Robert Voloder. Daniel Salloi was again absent due to of course being in the Hungarian squad.

On the flipside, there were also a few changes made by Bruce Arena. It was a 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium against the Union for the Revs. Gustavo Bou was on the score sheet and following the departure of Adam Buksa to Lens, the Argentine again led the line once again.

Alongside Bou, seven players remained in place. Matt Turner, who has also played his last game for the club, has handed the baton over to Djordje Petrovic. The other two men that got their chance from the start were Dylan Borrero and Matt Polster. Sebastian Lletget and Arnor Traustason were the two to make way, the latter coming off of the bench shortly before Ema Boateng.

Was This a Better Performance from New England?

It wasn’t the best of performances, from either side. In the words of Arena, “the heat and humidity was really challenging today. It made for a bit of a slow and sloppy game”. There were some good chances created by the Revolution but Arena said that the team “were sloppy with our chances and got a bit of an ugly goal, which we’re going to take. It’s an important three points on the road.” Sloppy is a very appropriate word to describe yesterday’s fixture.

A smart aerial ball from Borrero found Bou in behind the SKC defence. La Pantera used his experience and did the rest, hammering beyond the reaches of Tim Melia. It was Scotsman Johnny Russell who got the hosts back into the game, but not before they were reduced to ten men. Former Barcelona man Oriol Rosell was booked just before the break and, the other side of the half, was dismissed altogether.

Russell curled home a fantastic free-kick, with Petrovic unable to keep it out. Ema Boateng had the final say but it was far from a glamorous goal in the way that Russell’s was. The Ghanian was quick to react to Melia saving a Bou effort. Ema Boateng described it himself after the final whistle: “he hits some pretty powerful shots so I just took a chance on it knowing if he gets a touch on it, I will be there for the rebound.”

Final Thoughts…

Ema Boateng continues to thrive when he enters the fray mid-game. Arena described his performance as one full of “energy getting forward, putting them under pressure. He was fresh and helped us defensively as well.” There have been some calls from fans for him to start but it appears that he is best when the opposing defenders are tiring.

On Borrero and he is making an impact already having assisted the opener in KC yesterday. He spoke optimistically of his start to life in Boston: “I’m happy that I’m more and more adjusted to the league and my teammates. I find myself happy in New England.” Sporting continue to struggle and remain bottom of the Western Conference whilst the Revs are below the playoff line on goal difference alone.

Gustavo Bou made it back-to-back games with a goal for New England which is of increasing necessity given the departure of his former strike partner. On top of that, the Revolution earned a big three points to continue their resurgence and Ema Boateng netted for the second time this term. Onwards and upwards for Arena’s men with a busy week ahead: Orlando City and Minnesota United will both visit Gillette in the next seven days.

Click here to read an exclusive interview with Revolution teenager Tico Rivera!
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