Tensions flared in the Friday night matchup between New England and Philadelphia, what some are considering the official start to a heated rivalry. The two teams have seen a lot of each other as of late, they have played each other almost double digit times in the last two seasons. In 2021, the Revs have taken seven out of nine possible points against the Union, and probably should’ve had all nine, thanks to a questionable referee call. The game was full of chaos and classic MLS moments, as the Revolution bested the Union 1-0.
The game started out slow, which was expected when both teams are missing a ton of their starters. The important part for the Revs was that their back line was intact, allowing them to grab the clean sheet in front of Brad Knighton’s eight saves. The lone goal came in minute 33 from an unlikely source in Matt Polster. Nathan Harriel, an 18-year-old in his first Union start, picked up a poor yellow card. On the ensuing free kick, Arnor Trauston whipped the ball towards the far post, where Matt Polster was able to fight through the defenders and get a toe poke into the back of the net. Advantage to the road team.
Arnor Traustason may have picked up the assist, but yet again he gave a team a way back into a game through poor decision making. He was yellow carded twice in five minutes to start the second half, marking the second time he’s done that recently. Luckily, the heart this team prevailed even down a man. Philly’s chippiness throughout the game was not a surprise, and they were not too happy when New England gave them the same energy. Carles Gil made his return to the side, and was involved in a cheap shot almost immediately.
Easily the best moment of the match came in minute 94, when center back Henry Kessler booted the ball out of play into the crowd, then proceeded to throw the ball sitting on the stand nearby into the crowd as well. The clip went viral on some big Twitter accounts. King Kess got the Revs fans even further behind him, and the full hatred of Union fans pointed his way. His time wasting strategies panned out, as it helped nurse the 1-0 win.
As a result of the additional three points, the Revolution now have 52, obviously still atop all forms of standings. The lead in the East is fourteen points over Nashville, the Supporter’s Shield is ten over Seattle. It’ll be some extra time off before next Saturday’s home match with NYCFC. Just last weekend, NYCFC got the best of the Revs in tough conditions, so it would be a great chance for revenge. Kickoff at Gillette Stadium is set for 7:00 PM EST.