The New England Revolution finally got the first win of the 2019 season, defeating Minnesota United 2-1 at home on Mar 30.
After what has been widely considered amongst Revolution fans as an abysmal start to the season, this win against Minnesota United was a breath of fresh air. New England started off the game looking like a new team. Manager Brad Friedel made two changes to the starting lineup, omitting winger Cristian Penilla and starting Cody Cropper in goal over Brad Knighton. The Revolution drew first blood in the 9th minute, after Designated Player (DP) and Spanish Midfielder Carles Gil curled in a fantastic pass across the 18 yard box to defender Jalil Anibaba, who just scraped a headed goal past Minnesota goalkeeper Vito Mannone. The Revolution were awarded a free kick outside the box in the 12th minute. Carles Gil curled another effort into the box, only for defender Brandon Bye to get his volley denied by Vito Mannone.
In the 23rd minute, New England defender and captain Michael Mancienne conceded a penalty after the referees called a handball in the box. Minnesota United forward Darwin Quintero took the penalty and calmly slotted it past Cropper, making the score 1-1.
Minnesota United almost made it 2-1 after being awarded a corner kick. Midfielder Jan Gregus delivered the ball in and defender Francisco Calvo sent a shot right at Cropper, who denied Calvo a goal by making a spectacular last minute save off the crossbar.
Carles Gil nearly recorded two assists that day, with the spaniard setting up forward Juan Agudelo in the 33rd minute, only for the forward to just narrowly miss the chance of making the scoreline 2-1 to the Revolution.
The Revolution would score the game winning goal in the 61st minute, after DeJuan Jones set up forward Teal Bunbury with a beautiful pass into the 18 yard box. Bunbury shot wide, hoping to slot it past Mannone, but defender Brandon Bye came to the rescue and knocked the ball cleanly past Mannone, making the score 2-1 to the Revolution.
Overall, the Revolution played much better in this game. The team played well, each player looked like they wanted to play, and the team chemistry was spectacular. After a disappointing loss to FC Cincinnati at home, this win was very much needed. Despite the fact that Brad Knighton and Cristian Penilla were not in the squad for this match (for reasons unknown), and other players being handed starting positions, the team gave the fans the win we have been wanting for so long.
Fans were beginning to become skeptical of Friedel’s tactics, but with this win, things are looking to change for the better. With Carles Gil still giving 110% every game and the team looking better on the pitch, fans are beginning to have hope moving forward this season. At this point, it just feels good to have something to celebrate.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted