The New England were well beaten in the first game of the MLS playoffs, being left dejected come full-time. A longer layoff may well have served as a benefit as Clint Peay’s side look to bounce back in front of their own fans. It is do or die for the Revs and midfielder Matt Polster spoke with some authority ahead of the game.
Matt Polster Lays Down the Law Ahead of Game 2 vs Philly
Looking Back at the Disappointment from Subaru Park
Everything quickly unraveled for the Revolution in Pennsylvania at the end of October. The home side were three goals to the good by half-time and to make matters worse, Carles Gil had been forced off with an injury as well.
There are major concerns amongst the fanbase as to the availability of Gil ahead of this return leg but Clint Peay provided some much-needed optimism. When asked about the Spaniard, Henry Kessler and Ian Harkes, his answer was short and sweet: “all available”.
— X – Philadelphia Union (@PhilaUnion) October 28, 2023
Meanwhile, midfielder Matt Polster dissected the defeat in the press conference and had this to say. “I thought we were good in the first 15 minutes and then we made a mistake, and it was difficult from there to get back into the game. No excuse for that, but I thought we were good at the start of the game. I thought we were very aggressive.”
There was a slither of positivity in the second half when Gustavo Bou found the back of the net as he continues to be the driving force for New England against the Union. The Argentinian striker scored both of the goals in the decision day win and that is what the team need to draw from- they’ve beaten Philly once on home soil so why can’t they repeat this feat?
Matt Polster Makes Bold Statement Regarding His Captain
Matt Polster certainly wasn’t pulling any punches when speaking to the media ahead of this do-or-die fixture. The standout comment was regarding the treatment of Gil from the first game and how he and his teammates can respond.
“We need to be more aware, and maybe even a little more forceful, on our side as players to maybe do something similar. We need to start targeting their players to an extent, obviously not to hurt like what happened to Carles, but protect him and make sure it’s not okay just to keep hitting our players.”
Polster offers the caveat that he isn’t advocating violence but instead saying that the Union’s physical approach worked so why shouldn’t the Revs return the favour.
Jim Curtin announces Kai Wagner will not travel to New England.
No verdict yet.
— Jonathan Tannenwald (@thegoalkeeper) November 7, 2023
Carles Gil’s availability is up in the air for one reason whilst Kai Wagner will miss out for a different reason entirely. The German fullback was accused of racially abusing Revs’ forward Bobby Wood in the recent meeting but no punishment came in the moment. As reported by Jonathan Tannenwald amongst others, Union boss Jim Curtin has announced that “Wagner will not travel to New England” even though he has been training in the meantime.
Elsewhere, Peay gave his scouting report on the upcoming opposition and what he expects from Curtin’s men. “It’s a game where they can be a little bit more conservative, but I expect at a minimum, they’re going to be combative. They’re going to hit you on the counter. Whether they play with a back four, back five, who knows? Obviously, they’ve done both in two different games, consecutive games, so it’s really hard to predict exactly what they’ll do.”
“We really have nothing to lose” is the official line from Polster and that feels like the ideal attitude to have here. It is as simple as win or go home and so the Revs have their playoff fate in their own hands.
Featured image credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports, Oct 28, 2023.