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Revs Are Out of the Leagues Cup. Are They Ready For a Run at the Playoffs?

ROBC Vol. 1 No. 11, August 8, 2023


Source: revolutionsoccer.net


Matt: So, Leagues Cup happened. In the span of 17 days, the Revs played 4 Leagues Cups games, winning 2 and losing 2. Heavily depleted by injury and being on the receiving end of rough play, the Revs were knocked out in the round of 16 by Querétaro in PKs 4-3.


Josh: All the tournaments definitely take their toll. I am the first to talk about how MLS isn’t just a retirement league. But let’s be real, there is an age gap from players getting their start in professional soccer and career players in MLS. So all of these additional games have to come at a cost.


Matt: Let’s total up that cost: player injuries from the Leagues Cup include: Brandon Bye, out for the season (ACL), Carles Gil getting clobbered constantly, resulting in having to sit out the last game against Quarétaro.

source: Carles Gil Instagram


Gustavo Bou and Bobby Wood are also out with undisclosed injuries. Hopefully all three will be back when the MLS season resumes against Nashville.


Josh: And the Revs just got Bye back from his shoulder injury like 6 weeks ago! He had come back to MLS tearing up a storm, and now they’re without for the rest of the campaign. Gil got knocked around against San Luis along with front man Bobby Wood, and then again against Atlas we saw the opposing team get frustrated with Gil and choose to get him off the pitch physically.


Matt: The good: Esmir netted his first goal as a first-teamer against Querétaro (see cover photo courtesy of revolutionsoccer.net), Vrioni scored a hat trick against San Luis, and Nacho, Polster, and Buck were back and got some game conditioning. Understatement: the Revs got PK practice. They beat Atlas 8-7, but lost to the Red Bulls 4-2 and Quarétaro 4-3. One of the feel-good stories was Andrew Farrell, a pillar of the team, who scored the winning PK against Atlas in what was the Revs’s 1,000th competitive match. Young players got more experience playing in a tournament atmosphere. One final good thing - a 14-day break before the MLS season continues in Nashville. Sleep and ice packs all around, everybody!


Josh: Absolutely! Congratulations to Bajraktarević - we fans are so glad you’re here and scoring goals in difficult situations! Dear Vrioni - whatever you had for a pregame meal before playing ASL, eat that every game day, please. I guess I’m glad for PKs happening because ties are frustrating for American soccer fans, and it makes the math and tournament more complicated, but that one seems like a stretch. However, I am always glad to celebrate Farrell’s success with the Revs! And yes, I’m glad the Slyde Squad gets a break before resuming MLS play.


Matt: I wasn’t looking forward to the Leagues Cup because I considered it dangerous for the Revs due to the numerous injuries they’ve suffered this season. Not just wear and tear, but also injury brought about by the urgency of playing in a tournament, AUGMENTED BY DIRECT PRIZE MONEY-SHARING TO PLAYERS. Add in less-experienced referees that were employed in this tournament and you have the formula for a situation where Revs opponents from Liga MX can feel confident playing overly physically without having to worry about facing the same team again (i.e., future repercussions for rough play/repayment in kind) any time soon. That being said, new addition Mark-Anthony Kaye made an impression on Atlas after a particularly hard foul on Gil... And yes, the Revs also played the Red Bulls, but NY/NJ RB bring their own aggressive play with them that can easily injure opponents. This worry was confirmed as Brandon Bye is now out for the season with a damaged ACL, Carles Gil took beating after beating, and Wood and Bou out with injuries as well. It was ultimately Atlas’s rough play that left the Revs with a depleted roster as they fell to Querétaro.


Josh: Money makes people make all sorts of choices - professional athletes are not exempt. I didn’t know about the less-experienced referees; that’s frustrating. I’ve been seeing notes about questionable calls and being generous against players with legacy (ahem Messi’s non-Red), but didn’t know that they specifically had less experience.


Matt: I know I’m just repeating myself at this point, but there are a lot of question marks around how the Revs will finish out the season with all of their injuries, dating back to Borrero’s ACL injury back in April. The Revs have yet to replace his offensive presence and power, and now there’s even more work to do. I can only hope that 1. Vrioni clicks with the offense on a consistent basis, 2. Chancalay plays regularly and shows an ability to gel and carve up opposing defenses, and 3. Bajraktarevic’s first MLS first-team goal against Querétaro is just the beginning of his ability to finish in pressure situations with the first team. With Arena currently out (and no sense that he will return), will the rest of the season be like 2019, where the Revs were winning games they could easily have lost, or like 2022, which ended with a whimper as they went 1-3-1 in their last five to fall out of playoff contention?


Josh: Nashville will be a good test and evaluation of how the Revs respond with their updated roster - we’ll be on the edge of our couches. The young players got some minutes and achievements during the Cup play, and have started to figure out where they fit on the pitch. I will continue to beat the “Put them in, Coach!” drum, and I can only hope Coach Bruce, or, I guess, the interim Coach, will better leverage the bench. With how we expect the Revs to compete against Montreal and Orlando, they should be easy opportunities to give more time to those Homegrowns, Generation Adidas, and 25-30 slot players. They need the experience, and we fans want to see our core team staying healthy and strong. I’m confident the Revs will need that healthy squad for the playoffs, in which they will be playing, starting with home pitch advantage. Fortunately, we all now have two weeks to catch our breath, and Carles to rest that knee, before we get back in the points race. REST THE FORT!


Revs Slyde-ing Scale of 1-10 for Leagues Cup Games

Final Score on the Revs Slyde-ing Scale:6.7 /10 - Was the League Cup a good thing for the Revs? To be continued…


Twitter and Instagram: @RevsCoasts



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