Many followers of the New England Revolution signposted this clash with FC Cincinnati as the first major challenge of 2023. It certainly lived up to the billing at Gillette Stadium as two high-flying sides went head-to-head. Neither was able to walk away with all three points and with Dylan Borrero being stretchered off in tears, Bruce Arena has a lot on his plate now.
The New England Revolution Tie FC Cincinnati on Home Soil
From Suspension to Injury for Dylan Borrero
It was just a matter of days ago that the New England Revolution were without Dylan Borrero due to suspension. He picked up two yellow cards in a 1-1 draw with the Columbus Crew and now he is set to be sidelined for different reasons.
A very nasty injury to the young Colombian sustained last night is a major body blow to the team. Bruce Arena, who was particularly critical of Borrero after that red card, was unable to offer the Revolution faithful the miracle that they were hoping for. “I haven’t gotten confirmation, but I think it’s a serious knee injury.”
Praying for you Dylan
— Henry Kessler (@HenryKessler4) April 30, 2023
Looking back to the mid-week cup win and unsurprisingly, a number of changes were made to the starting XI. Comparing this lineup to that of last weekend though and Arena made three alterations. DeJuan Jones returned at left-back, teenager Esmir Bajraktarevic made way for Dylan Borrero and Justin Rennicks retained the starting spot up top after scoring past Hartford Athletic, despite Giacomo Vrioni’s brace against Sporting Kansas City.
One man who started both of the two league games in question and made an impact was Emmanuel Boateng. The tricky winger played a key role in both of Vrioni’s goals against SKC and it was the Ghanaian’s time to find the back of the net now. Arena was full of praise for him too, saying that “Ema played very well. It’s a good goal.”
The New England Revolution Retain Top Spot in the Standings
Whilst it would have been even sweeter for the New England Revolution had they won this game, it is still a very valuable point. Cinci have shown to be a fellow Shield contender and so to deny them the three points and remain at the summit of Major League Soccer can’t be undermined.
Goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic has played a big part in this success enjoyed by the Revs, just as he did last season. The Serbian made a huge penalty save in this one, denying Luciano Acosta, but his Head Coach wasn’t best pleased about the awarding of the spot-kick in the first place. “I think the penalties, maybe a little questionable. It looked like our player was outside the penalty area. I don’t know why we use VAR. Whatever. Big save by Djordje. No question about that.”
16.2 – @NERevolution‘s Djordje Petrovic has outperformed his Expected Goals on Target (xGOT) by 16.2 since joining MLS in June 2022 (35 GC excl. OG, 51.2 xGOT).
No other goalkeeper has outperformed their xGOT by more than 5.5 in that time. Wall. pic.twitter.com/JRxEMDlx0T
— OptaJack (@OptaJack) April 30, 2023
‘Scrappy’ and ‘physical’ were two words used by Arena to describe both the game and the opposition, sentiments which were reinforced by his players. Noel Buck had this to say, Cinci are “at the top of the league with us. And they made it a difficult game. They made a lot of fouls, hit you a lot, and we just had to deal with that.”
Meanwhile, defender Brandon Bye felt the Revs should have gotten off to a better start. “We started off very poorly. I think we should have come out of the gates better. We were sloppy, we gave a lot of passes away. And I think that’s a credit to the team for having that resilience to come back and really take control of the game.”
All in all, it is a very solid point, particularly given the slow start that Bye alludes to. Losing Borrero to such a brutal injury is a bitter pill to swallow and so the likes of Damian Rivera and Esmir will have to step up in his absence. Next up for the New England Revolution is a trip north of the border to face Toronto FC.
Featured image credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports, taken Apr 29, 2023.
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