All you need to know about the Revolution’s 1-0 win over New York City FC Wednesday night, complete with BSJ quickie analysis and insight.
The streak is over: Phew. 66-34 percent possession disadvantage? Doesn’t matter. Out-shot 28-11 overall? Who cares. Bad passing in the first half? Fuhgedabawdit. The only thing that matters is the scoreline, which the Revolution came out on top on. The 1-nil dub snaps New England’s nine-match winless streak dating back to June 30, and moves the Revs back into seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 33 points and a game in hand on sixth-place Montreal (it should be noted that eighth-place DC United has two games in hand on the Revs). NYCFC also came into the match 10-0-3 at Yankee Stadium, and The Boys In Blue spoiled that.
Offense flowed a touch better in the second half: Leominster native Diego Fagundez started the match on the bench, and the Revs' offense suffered from some poor passing (55 percent connected). But things turned around — at least visually — when Brad Friedel inserted Fagundez into the scheme, replacing Cristhian Machado at the start of the second half. Fagundez would end up starting the sequence which led to the goal by Brian Wright, his first MLS goal (and he nearly had his first in the first half, caroming the shot off the post). And Providence native Isaac Angking nearly had his first MLS goal in his league debut, coming on after Wright scored. The Revs’ final passing percentage? 59 percent. A little improvement on the small pitch at East 161st Street.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 6, 2018
Defense tightened up late: The Revolution defense successfully killed the match off, even though there were plenty of times where the New England faithful had to hold their breath in the last 10-plus minutes — especially any time the ball came to the foot of Spanish legend David Villa, or any time NYCFC had a corner kick (and it had plenty of those). But the play of the centerbacks Jalil Anibaba and Michael Mancienne was stellar in the latter stages of the match. No switching off by anyone, although Brandon Bye’s 90th-minute foul on the edge of the area … he needs to be smarter.
Changes a-plenty for New England: The Revs made several big changes for the midweek fixture. Teal Bunbury was unavailable after playing 90 minutes against Portland, so Wright took his place in the XI. Matt Turner was not in goal for the first time in MLS play this season, supplanted by Brad Knighton. With no Luis Caicedo as he served a match ban, Machado was in a three-man defensive midfield. Kelyn Rowe was in the central midfield, with Fagundez on the bench. Rookie Mark Segbers also found the bench for the first time.
Brad Knighton: Making his first MLS start since October 22 of last year and second start of the season (the US Open Cup defeat to Louisville City), Knighton made the most of his opportunity in Matt Turner’s stead. Knighton was called into action early and often as the Bronx Blues held a great deal of possession and peppered the first-base side with 11 shots in the first half, four of which on target, and all saved by Knighton. He ended up with five saves on the night.
Diego Fagundez: The former LHS Blue Devil entered the match at halftime and asserted his authority, getting the offense moving again. He started the sequence which saw Brian Wright pop in the only goal of the match — and heads up by Wright for reacting properly — and tried to get a few more things started.
Scott Caldwell: The defensive midfielder from Braintree — and as it would happen, the remaining defensive midfielder after both Machado and Wilfried Zahibo gave way for Fagundez and Juan Agudelo — was all over the place. Full marks for SC6.
Wilfried Zahibo: This may be slightly unfair given he came up with hamstring trouble, but it didn’t appear that Zahibo would have performed well with two good hamstrings. He didn’t hold up play well enough, and his free kick in the 33rd minute needed to get over the wall and on NYCFC keeper Sean Johnson, not off the wall and over for a corner. Hope he gets his hamstring sorted.
TAKE THAT SWEENS MAY REGRET
Seriously …. NYCFC needs to get out of Yankee Stadium sooner rather than later. I know they are looking at some sites in the South Bronx for a stadium, and this is what they have right now. But they need their own stadium without the patchwork quilt over the infield. How many players hit the deck near first base Wednesday night? Someone’s going to get hurt one of these days. We’re talking about elite athletes twisting their ankles and pulling ligaments on a crap temp grass set-up.
“Massive. Absolutely massive. The performance the guys put in tonight was something we’ve been looking for for a while, and we’re just been unfortunate and unlucky, and tonight everyone dug deep.”
-- Brad Knighton
The Revs will be back in action not this Saturday, but next Saturday when they travel to the City of Angels to take on Lee Nguyen and LAFC. First kick is slated for 10:30 p.m. on this coast.