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Revolution Looking To Balance Their Roster Down The Stretch

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New England Revolution Looking To Balance Their Roster Down The Stretch

The New England Revolution won a vitally important game on Saturday night at home with a 1-nill victory over the Vancouver WhiteCaps.

The importance of this game can not be understated with only 11 games to go in New England’s MLS slate. With every game becoming a must win it is getting tough for Coach Jay Heaps to balance everything out with new players joining the squad

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Ideally, we get the players earlier in the window. The concern is, how fit are they and pushing them back too soon. There’s definitely going to be a period of adjustment and trying to get them acclimated without throwing off the depth that we’re adding just by guys coming back from injury. [Xavier] Kouassi’s been a huge piece. Every time he’s played, we feel like he’s been really good. He had that significant injury where he came back from the [knee] injury last year, but his quad this year. So him coming back, I feel like, is a real positive and where he is in his fitness is good. I agree – the margins of error are tight, but we’re in the fight like anyone else and we’re going to come every day to work to make sure that we continue to push and make teams know that we’re coming.”[/perfectpullquote]

New England has had the pleasure of having Xavier Kouassi return along with several new players joining the organization. One of those new players was announced this past week with the transfer for  Krisztián Németh. Németh is expected to be with the team this week.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Monday. He has his P-1 Visa. Now, it’s just a matter of getting the ITC [International Transfer Certificate].”[/perfectpullquote]

With having had these players coming back in the window the roles of players come into question. Even with their successes, adding more players into the fold makes Coach Heaps job even tougher.

Kelyn Rowe has been an electric player for New England this season and has been sort of a utility player for Heaps. Rowe’s ability to play in different spots and match up with different players makes him a very valuable player down the stretch.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“For us, I’ve said it and people joke about it, but I call him a jackknife. He’s got all those different tools and each one of them is razor sharp and he can play positions differently. So tonight, we just felt like if we could go east-to-west against this team, we were going to have opportunities for Kelyn in that wide spot to serve. And then we could solidify it. We also wanted to get a bigger guy in the back line in Je-Vaughn [Watson]. Je-Vaughn covered [Kendall] Waston on every set piece. So we felt like, alright, we get a bigger defender. We bring Je-Vaughn in and then get Kelyn to where we think he could be most effective, we might have a chance. I thought the service was – he’s one of those players, I just talked about [it] on TV, where he can get his head up and he can see where the run is going. He just has a really natural ability to do that and pretty special, quite frankly.”[/perfectpullquote]

In Saturday’s win, the Revs scored their first goal via Teal Bunbury, but after that Heaps went in favor of substitutions.  The reason being he wanted to slow the game down and play defensively instead of going for the second goal.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Normally, we might go for the second goal as opposed to drawing it in a little bit, but I thought we wanted to close the game down. [Xavier] Kouassi has been itching to get back and we needed to get him more minutes. [Scott] Caldwell has obviously played so many minutes for us. And Juan [Agudelo], we wanted to get him back in. There was a little dynamic and we wanted a little bit of speed to start the game, so we went with Teal [Bunbury]. I feel like now we’re adding depth and now we’re adding [Krisztián] Németh and Claude [Dielna] is now here. So, now there’s going to be some real fight for position, but also abilities to change games with substitutions.”[/perfectpullquote]

Bunbury was the lightning rod for the Revolution on Saturday with his ability to get into the backfield and stretch the WhiteCaps defense. His role this season has been back and forth with Bunbury bouncing from the starting lineup to the bench seemingly every game. But he has had immense success as of late and Heap’s credits his professionalism.

[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“Even before that, because when Juan was gone, I thought he had a couple of good games as well. I think it’s great, because it makes a hard decision every time we have to make a decision on the lineup. He was in the mix. Actually, I thought he did a nice job in Chicago coming in the game as well to add a spark. For me, Teal [Bunbury], he’s a true professional. I know he doesn’t like starting one game and coming off the bench in the other, but he’s also, for me, a tactical piece, and we decide we can play a little differently with what he brings. Tonight, we really wanted that pace. We really wanted to be able to stretch their back line and find the gaps underneath and make [Matias] Laba and [Tony] Tchani get stretched, because their back line was dealing with runs in behind. It started to open up a little bit. It wasn’t all the way there, but in the second half, I thought that’s what started to happen. Their back line couldn’t deal with the pace and Teal beat them there. If they had, I think there would’ve been space underneath. So those are the things that we need to keep working on. Teal is a true professional. It’s not easy, but man, he puts his head down and comes to work every day and that’s what we love about him.”[/perfectpullquote]

Next up for the New England Revolution is a match down in the Bronx to take on NYC FC.

Tanner founded Trifecta Network in Spring of 2016 and has been the Chief of Content for the Network since that time. Currently Tanner covers all the sports teams in Boston and has contacts in many of the teams in the city. Before starting Trifecta, Tanner was a Site Expert for the FanSided site Chowder and Champions before leaving to cover Boston teams on the ground as a member of the media for Trifecta.

New England Revolution

Revolution Send Fans Home Happy In Record Breaking Win

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New England Revolution

With any hopes of making the playoffs diminished thanks to a New York Red Bulls win last week, it may have seemed like there was nothing left to play for in the Revolution’s season. But in fact the Revs had an opportunity to do something that had not been done in the club’s history. Win 12 games at home in a single season. They have had 11 home wins twice before including the magical MLS Cup run in 2014. The Revs were also looking to play spoiler to an New York City FC team who would clinch a playoff bye with a win. So in the final home match of the season, the Revolution wanted to give the faithful at Gillette one last time to celebrate this year.

After a quiet first 25 minutes the Revolution encountered a game changer they had seen four times in the past five games, a red card. This time though, the call went in the Revolution’s favor after 2nd year player Jack Harrison slid studs up into Teal Bunbury. The Revolution were a man up with plenty of time left.

The Revs failed to capitalize in the first half entering halftime in a scoreless draw. Then in the 51st minute, Diego Fagundez took a shot from just outside the box on an assist from Andrew Ferrall for his first goal since June 3rd. Later in the second minute of stoppage time, Fagundez found the back of the net again on his own rebound off NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

The Revolution were minutes away from a shutout when only seconds after Fagundez’s second goal, NYCFC sent the ball up field and it fell to Khiry Shelton who headed it over Brad Knighton who was visibly upset that he had lost his clean sheet on such a freak play.

Despite that scare, the Revolution ended the game on top 2-1. The win was a bizarre, bittersweet moment for the team. They had broken a club record for home wins despite not making the playoffs. The Revolution have one more match on Sunday in Montreal before they say goodbye to the 2017 season.

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New England Revolution

Delamea, Bunbury and Rowe Among Winners In Annual Revolution Team Awards

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New England Revolution

Before Sunday’s final home match of the season, the Revolution kicked off Fan Appreciation Night by announcing the recipients of the Revolution team awards. The awards are handed out each year to players from both the senior team and the Revolution Academy.

Antonio Delamea won both Defender of the Year and Most Valuable Player. Delamea has proven to be one of the Revolutions best signings when he transferred from Slovenian side Olimpija Ljubljana, becoming the first Slovenian to play in Major League Soccer. He scored one goal and one assist and played 2,547 minutes in 29 matches for the Revs this season. He was also added to a shortlist for both MLS defender and newcomer of the year. With the MVP win, Delamea joins a list of Revolution legends that include Shalrie Joseph, Matt Reis, and Taylor Twellman.

The Player’s Player of the Year which is voted on by the clubs players was awarded to Teal Bunbury. His season had a frustrating start. After spending most of the season on the bench, Bunbury made his first start on July 2nd against the Philadelphia Union. Since then he has scored 7 goals in 14 games becoming one of the most in-form players in Major League Soccer. In an interview on this week’s Far Post Podcast, Teal Bunbury was asked about the ups and downs of the season. “I’m always a guy who wants to work hard in training, wants to work hard in the games but just want’s a fair shot” he said. “If I’m out there I’m playing for my teammates”.

For the fourth straight year, the Humanitarian of the Year went to Kelyn Rowe. Rowe’s presence off the field has been as important as his contributions on the field. He’s worked with several charities including the Jessie Rees Foundation and Kelyn’s NEGU (Never Ever Give Up) Crew. The latter was started in 2015 and gives children with cancer a chance to experience a Revolution game and walk around the Gillette Stadium pitch. This year was also a highlight year for Rowe on the field. He was called up to the United States National Team for the first time to compete in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in which he scored a goal against Nicaragua and helped the US win the tournament.

The award for Academy Player of the Year went to Joe Britto. The 18-year-old midfielder from Connecticut has been called up to youth national team camps since 2013. He supports the Revolution, Benfica, Portugal, and the US Men’s National Team, and his favorite players are Neymar, Pablo Aimar and Christiano Ronaldo. Britto is attending UNC Charlotte who was the Conference USA regular season champions in 2016.

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New England Revolution

Revolution Officially Eliminated From Playoff Contention

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New England Revolution

The New England Revolution’s playoff hopes are now a mathematical impossibility. This is thanks to the New York Red Bulls beating the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday, securing the 6th and final playoff spot in the eastern conference. New York won decisively 3-0 having 56.8% possession and 18 total shots to Vancouver’s 3.

The Revolution’s chances of making the playoffs were slim and relied on a lot of scoreboard watching for both the team and the fans. They needed to win both their final two games and New York would have to get less than three points in their final three games. Before Saturday, the Red Bulls were on an eight-game winless streak. That streak did not include a loss in the US Open Cup Final against Sporting Kansas City.

New England still has two matches remaining this season. Their final home match is on Sunday, October 15th. That match will be fan appreciation night at Gillette Stadium and all week leading up to the match. The last match of the season will see them travel to Montreal to take on the Impact.

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