The New England Revolution played the club’s first home game of the 2019 Major League Soccer (MLS) season, hosting the Columbus Crew on March 9. Despite losing 2-0 at home to Columbus, there were some positives to draw from the game.
The Revolution went into this game making only one change to the lineup since the first game against FC Dallas, with defender Michael Mancienne replacing Janil Anibaba and captaining the side. The hosts started out strong, pressing Columbus and creating a few chances to put pressure on the visitors. Revolution newcomer and Spanish midfielder Carles Gil looked dangerous in the midfield and added some spark to the game. But even early on, the Crew’s defense remained strong and goalkeeper Zack Steffen had an impressive performance, only having to make 3 saves the entire game.
However, the Revolution would not be able to keep up with the pressure from Columbus, as the Crew would score in the 26th minute to make it 1-0 to the visitors. Midfielder Pedro Santos ran through the revolution midfield and curved a perfectly placed ball to striker Gyasi Zardes who headed it past Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton.
The Revs would be awarded a free kick in the 49th minute, but Zack Steffen would go on to save Diego Fagundez’s attempt, further adding to the attacking struggles for the New England side. Seven minutes later, the Revolution were awarded a penalty in the box after Wilfried Zahibo was taken down in the box in the 56th minute. Fagundez stepped up to take the penalty, but Steffen once again proved his abilities and saved Fagundez’s effort, keeping the scoreline 1-0 to the visitors. Gyasi Zardes would score again in the 90’ +6’ minute, making the final scoreline 2-0.
Despite a disappointing result for the Revolution, the game did come out with some positives. Revolution academy product and homegrown player Justin Rennicks made his MLS debut, replacing striker Juan Agudelo at halftime. He made an immediate impact, registering two shots, creating one chance, having 29 touches and changing the tempo of the game. Tajon Buchanan also made his league debut. The ninth-round pick in the 2019 MLS Superdraft came on as a substitute and replaced midfielder Scott Caldwell in the 81st minute. He registered two shots and 8 touches for the Revolution, and looked dangerous on the wings. The future looks very bright for the Revolution, and if Friedel plays the two together more, Revolution fans could be in for a very exciting season.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted