4 highlights from the Revolution’s 1-1 draw with FC Cincinnati
The New England Revolution
An injury to Dylan Borrero marred a physical but entertaining matchup between the Eastern Conference’s top two teams.
The Revolution were held to a 1-1 draw against Cincinnati FC on Saturday as little separated the top two teams in the Eastern Conference.
New England fell behind early, but recovered throughout the game. Emmanuel Boateng’s first goal of 2023 was enough to deny Jerson Mosquera’s opener for Cincinnati.
A season-high crowd of 30,080 witnessed a thrilling match full of intensity and physicality that belied the fact that the playoffs are still more than six months away.
One unfortunate result was that one of the Revolution’s most exciting young talents, winger Dylan Borrero, left on a stretcher after the game with what head coach Bruce Arena admitted was a possible “serious knee injury.”
Here are a few takeaways:
Thin margins in a tough, physical game
Cincinnati took off in the opening minutes of the first half. The Revolution, unbeaten at home until 2023, were largely left at home as the visitors took an unexpected early lead.
“I think for the first 10 minutes of the game, they dominated us physically,” Arena said after the game. “We didn’t adapt well to it. It took us a little time.”
The team was without striker Giacomo Vrioni, who was injured in training and was not named in the squad as a result. With fellow forwards Gustavo Boo and Bobby Wood also returning from injury (and only able to make the bench), 24-year-old homegrown forward Justin Rennix gets his first start of the season.
While his movement was good, Rennix couldn’t consistently make too much of an impact on the game, and he struggled in tight situations (facing Cincinnati’s trio of center backs in the team’s 3-5-2 system).
While struggling to run an offense like they have in the past, the Revolution have sent offense outside of DeJuan Jones and Brandon Bay. Both players answered the call and entered the game. In the end it was Bai who broke down the right and went to the back post for Boateng’s equaliser.
Both teams competed with an intensity worthy of a successful start to the season, with hills flying all over the field. Revolution defensive midfielder Matt Polster, as well as center backs Dave Romney and Andrew Farrell, were instrumental in helping stop Cincinnati’s play attempts on forwards Brandon Vazquez and Sergio Santos.
Borrero’s injury could have major consequences.
New England, which survived Cincinnati’s early dominance in the first few minutes, was dealt a blow in the 15th minute when Borrero went down. Immediately, the 21-year-old clutched his left knee and began calling for the training staff.
The moment came when Borrero tried to jump over Mosquera’s shot. The New England winger landed awkwardly, apparently causing the injury. A Colombian citizen named Mosquera was upset when he realized that Borrero was injured.
Arena later expressed concern as the team waited for tests at Borrero to confirm what had happened.
“I haven’t received confirmation, but I think it’s a serious knee injury,” Arena explained.
Borrero, who has two goals and one assist until 2023, is one of the team’s rising talents. His extended absence has far-reaching consequences. If he misses part (or all) of the rest of the season, it will definitely change New England’s entire game plan.
Jordje Petrovic reminded everyone that he remains elite.
In close games, the Revolution has relied on good goaltending in the Arena era. That’s certainly true of Matt Turner (now at Arsenal) and the same is true of Turner’s successor in the New England net, Djorje Petrovic.
The 23-year-old Serbian was called again after the referee’s controversial decision to award Cincinnati a penalty in the first half, despite replays showing Rennix’s handball (the cause of the penalty) was just outside the box. .
However, when tasked with stopping Cincinnati’s Luciano Acosta from the spot, Petrovic was up to the task.
It was Petrovic’s fifth career MLS penalty save, the most accomplished feat in the league. record time (only 31 career games). He made several additional saves during the game.
Boateng and Noel Buck provide what the revolution needs.
Midfielder Latif Blessing missed the game as he had just returned from Ghana help his family move to the United States. He was replaced by 18-year-old Arlington native Noel Buck, who played in his third game in eight days.
Buck shook off the fatigue and had one of his best days as a professional. Facing a fast-tackling Cincinnati midfield, Buck linked up with Revolution captain Carles Gil and moved energetically through the middle of the field, helping to spread the ball around.
Boateng, one of Buck’s frequent options on the wing, has also been linked with Gill to help unlock the visitors’ defence. His first-half cross to New England midfielder Esmir Bayraktarjevic was brilliant. The only thing missing was Bayraktarjevic’s finish, which went over the bar.
Although he is often used as a substitute, Boateng has proven that he can make an impact as a starter. His 45th-minute equalizer was a product of both his quickness and intelligence. If Borrero is indeed sidelined for an extended period of time, Boateng could be one of the players Arena use to fill the void.
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