After a high-flying start to the 2021 campaign, the Revs received a well deserved reality check on Saturday afternoon. Amassing seven points across the first three games, the Revs held the top spot in MLS. Nashville SC humbled them on their home field, keeping a clean sheet in a 2-0 victory. Panic is a instinct for Revolution fans, but it’s not the time to worry yet.
1. IT’S STILL EARLY
New England has been very poor at the start of the season historically, likely due to the amount of away games, forced by cold weather. A 2-1-1 start is practically unheard of for the Revs, so a single loss shouldn’t change much at all.
While there are visible problems, some players are still shaking off the rust, or injuries. Each game will be another progression, but game four out of thirty-four is not the time to hit the panic button.
2. QUESTIONABLE TACTICS
In the first and only two matchups between New England and Nashville last season, the Revs quickly learned their style of play. Nashville likes to sit back in defense, waiting for the right moment to press, and eventually counter attack. While Nashville is playing a more attacking style this season, the Revolution acted as if they had never seen a press before.
Center backs were launching the ball into dead space, while wingers ran straight into traffic. Bruce Arena’s team needs to be more prepared for the unique play styles of MLS, as the majority of the starting lineup looked a bit lost on Saturday.
3. QUESTIONABLE REFEREEING
Referees cannot be blamed for the result of a game, there’s always some spot where a team could be better. Nevertheless, there has been some questionable calls against the Revolution, that even opposing team fans disagree with. The offside decision on Arnór Traustason that disallowed Adam Buksa’s goal had no definitive evidence, and easily could’ve brought the Revs back in the game.
Another extremely questionable decision came on the sliding challenge to Adam Buksa’s heels. Buksa was toppled down inside the box on what looked like a clear penalty, but VAR yet again struck against New England. But simply, they need to be better as a team.
4. SCORING SETBACKS
Only eight teams across MLS have scored less goals than New England. They have only scratched across close wins against DC United and Atlanta United. Adam Buksa got off to a quick start with his headed goal in the season opener, but he has gone completely cold. While he is doing his job in the hold up play, he has struggled in the attack.
No one hits the post more often than Buksa, who headed one off the post last match. Gustavo Bou has also been incredibly out of form, as well as injured. Bou notched one against Chicago, but has barely put a shot on since. Simply, more goals need to be produced.
5. SHORT MEMORY
Most importantly, the Revs need to keep a short memory. The season started over a month late, making for a condensed schedule. This means that Wednesday games will come every few weeks, allowing for a short memory.
A reality check is not such a bad thing, if they can prove themselves again on Wednesday night in Philadelphia. New England will face off with the Union at 7:30 PM on Wednesday night in game five of the 2021 season.