FOXBOROUGH, MA – Exploria Stadium had yet to host a New England Revolution victory until last night. It is a new-look squad for Bruce Arena’s men off the back of a busy transfer window, which includes getting Christian Makoun. Form and league standings favoured Orlando City but that all went out of the window. With three clean sheets in a row now, a playoff push could be on the cards in Foxborough.
The Revs Get the Job Done at Exploria Stadium
Justin Rennicks Leads the New England Line
As previously mentioned, there have been a few ins and outs at Gillette Stadium over the last week or so. Injuries continue to be an issue in the final third with Bruce Arena commenting that “All those players have some injuries, so that’s why they didn’t play today” on Gustavo Bou, Dylan Borrero, and, to some extent, Giacomo Vrioni.
In their absence, Justin Rennicks led the line on his own in a rare run-out for the youngster. Arena was pleased with his performance, “Give Justin a lot of credit, he did his job.” Meanwhile, Sebastian Lletget of course made way from the starting XI having secured that shock trade to FC Dallas. The back four plus Djordje Petrovic remained settled. Maciel entering the fray in place of Lletget being the sole change.
Here we go lads.💪 pic.twitter.com/ZKYtT8owNt
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) August 6, 2022
On the flip side, Orlando City was unchanged at Exploria Stadium from their last outing. They lost 2-1 to the team at rock bottom of the overall MLS standings DC United. Late drama for Wayne Rooney’s new side with Taxi Fountas at the heart of it saw DC earn a rare three points. Top-scorer Ercan Kara and new arrival Nicholas Gioacchini were amongst the substitutes with Alex Pato and Benji Michel in from the off.
Three Unlikely Scorers at Exploria Stadium
The loss of Adam Buksa combined with Bou’s injuries means that goals are hard to come by for the Revs. Their last two games were goalless draws against Toronto FC and the Columbus Crew, yet that was far from the case at Exploria Stadium. Prior to this, they were winless in four on the road with the last away victory coming at a struggling Sporting Kansas City side.
It was a trio of unusual scorers for the Revs, the first of which being midfielder Matt Polster. His absence, when struggling with a concussion, was harshly felt by the side. The former Rangers man is back in the thick of it though and he opened the scoring in Florida. Coach Arena gave it his seal of approval, “Polster’s goal was great teamwork, good ball movement.”
— Wilfrid Kaptoum (@Kaptoum5) August 7, 2022
Not long after the break, Wilfrid Kaptoum acrobatically made it 2-0 on Orlando soil. The midfielder wasn’t the only Revolution player to open his account for the season. There were defensive heroics from Henry Kessler at one end and then he was heading a Carles Gil corner beyond the reaches of Peruvian shot-stopper Pedro Gallese.
As well as joking that “Andrew Farrell was telling me I was going to get one tonight and it’s funny, he said that before last year, and I got one last year too in that game”, Kessler spoke more candidly on his headed goal. “I’ve been working really hard on attacking headers. That’s something that I’ve tried to improve upon, and I think I can make myself even better in that regard, so to see that all that practice, all that hard work showed during the game was really satisfying.”
— OptaJack⚽️ (@OptaJack) August 7, 2022
The Last Word
Goal scorer Matt Polster spoke with a sense of relief regarding the emphatic victory at Exploria Stadium, “It was a really good team performance and a well-needed three points.” The latter part of that quote is very true given not only the position of Orlando in the standings but the recent Revolution results too.
Elsewhere, Inter Miami drew with CF Montreal and the Chicago Fire just about edged past Charlotte FC in North Carolina. This means that four teams, including Orlando and New England, are tied on 30 points. The Fire is the only of the quartet above the playoff line but the Revs boast a game in hand. Next time, the Lions will visit Red Bull Arena whilst Wayne Rooney’s DC visit Gillette.