The New England Revolution were pulled back toward earth on Saturday afternoon, as their three-game unbeaten streak ended at Toyota Park in a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Fire.
Much fanfare had been made of the Revolution in the lead-up to this game, but the final result will definitely act as a wet blanket.
New England’s first Eastern Conference match did not go as planned and by weekend’s completion, they will be outside the top six in the standings.
Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s game.
- This game was lost the second Je-Vaughn Watson got red carded—A pair of ill-advised plays in a six-minute span in the first half produced two yellow cards, thus an ejection, for New England left back Je-Vaughn Watson, who was making his first start of the season. From that point on, the Revs were doomed. A Chicago goal was going to come—they are a team that thrives on open spaces on the pitch—and come it did, two on either side of halftime and the third and final strike serving as the nail in the coffin midway through the second half. Chicago controlled more than 75 percent of possession with a man advantage. Fire unsung heroes Juninho and Luis Solignac stretched the field, German soccer superstar Bastian Schweinsteiger kept momentum in the hosts’ favor on offense, and Dax McCarty helped keep the ball. What Watson was thinking is irrelevant. The consensus is that he made two foolish plays and that the Revs were a different team before and after the red card. It’s worth wondering what would have happened had this match finished 11 v. 11.
- Xavier Kouassi is a huge bright spot—It’s hard not to be impressed with Kouassi’s form. He’s a hustler in the middle of the field, physical and judicious with when he steps in, and is key in transition. He adds a physical element that is particularly important for New England, and looked good in all match-ups, most notably opposite Schweinsteiger. Prior to the red card, Kouassi was all over Schweinsteiger, marking him tightly and contesting for every ball. Obviously his responsibilities changed after the Watson red card, but his work on the ball and his performance did not. He exited the match with 90 percent pass completion and four tackles, the most of any Revolution player not named Andrew Farrell.
- It’s still early, so RELAX—This was certainly a game to forget. It was a poor performance that hinged on the ill-advised actions of one player, and kept the Revolution winless on the road. That said, the Revs aren’t even 20 percent through their season and have only played one conference game. They see the Chicago Fire two more times and, in spite of Saturday afternoon’s display, really do look like they might have the goods to make a deep playoff run this season. The Revolution get a quick turnaround, as they’ll return to Gillette Stadium to host the San Jose Earthquakes on Wednesday.
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