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Revs Kick Off New Season With Two Losses Against DC and Toronto, Look Ahead to Atlanta and Cincy

ROBC Vol. 2 No. 2, Mar 7 2024



Matt: Welcome to a special edition of Revs on One Coast, and sorry for the delay in posting! So, to open with the positive, the season has started, and at least this point the Revs are undefeated against international teams. 


When the season starts in February, opening the season on the road is practically a given for the New England team. They brought their win and CONCACAF Champions goal differential of +1 against CAI from hot and humid Panama to a much crisper District of Columbia. Revs fans were going to have to wait to have some of their questions answered (Kessler and Farrell not starting, Borrero and Bye still recovering from injury, Bobby Wood out), but would find out the answers to others (i.e., Ravas in the net, Vrioni at the 9). Sadly, the plan went out the window with Vrioni picking up unnecessary yellows at the 12’ and 25’. By the end of the match, Benteke’s hat trick showed any doubters he was ready for 2024.


Two bright points from that game: 1. The ball movement this year is much better: faster, crisper, much more creating and using of space. Neither too much kick and chase, nor multiple of the same ball movement that could become predictable. 2. Last, but not least, WHAT A GOAL FROM CARLES GIL. In the 67’, with four DC United players converging on him at the top of the 18 yard box, Carles curled one up and over into the top left corner of the goal. Keeper Alex Bono gave a half-hearted hop, but had absolutely no chance of stopping that shot. World class.


Jumping ahead to the Revs home opener, it was a BRILLIANT DAY for soccer. 54 degrees at the 2pm Sunday start, it was so warm at one point I didn’t need a sweatshirt. The new turf looked great, the Tea Party Kits were downright festive, and the crowd was hungry for a win over Toronto. Latif Blessing was seen hugging it out with former teammates during warmups, recently retired homegrown Scott Caldwell was there to help kick things off, and the hype video was legit. I tried to Soundhound the pumped-up music to no avail, but the video footage had great angles and perspective that gave you a real sense of what things must be like on the field, rather than, say, reminding you of clips you watched on replays during the offseason.


And the lineup looked interesting: the 4-2-3-1 of Farrell, Kessler, Romney, and Jones holding down the back line, Polster and Buck controlling that section of midfield, Bajraktarević, Carles Gil, and crowd favorite Ema Boateng attacking midfield, and Chancalay at striker. After the brand new tradition of dropping a box of “tea” with the other team’s logo on it out of The Fort, KICKOFF!


The Revs did their best impersonation of DC from the week before, immediately putting the pressure on Toronto, who was ready and refused to cede possession easily to the home team. Four minutes in we were treated to a great chance by Chancalay in the fourth minute, but we would soon see that Toronto had plans of their own. Toronto’s Insigne was very comfortable moving the ball up the left, and for a little while we had a back and forth game. After Bajraktarević’s foot was stomped on in the box in the 22’, VAR declared no PK, confusing the crowd. Then a few moments after Ravas saved a tight Osorio shot in the 27’, Insigne took a look at the net from the left side and then curved it into the top far corner around a diving Ravas. Seventy minutes and a lot of pushing, shoving, and flaring tempers later, the score remained the same and Toronto got to bring all three points back to the Great White North.


That all said, the youth movement on the Revs, spearheaded by Jones and Bye, is being continued – nay, amplified – by young Revs like Noel Buck, Esmir Bajraktarević, and Jack Panayotou. From my seat, it was very clear that Esmir didn’t back down one millimeter from Insigne, and surely prevented key plays and more shots on target. My three good takeaways - 1. The 2024 incarnation of the Revs has more chemistry and purpose than they did at the end of last season. A good sign, especially with a new coach! 2. Ravas is promising…played pretty well, but not perfectly,  but afterward showed he is thinking and working toward filling Petrovic’s boots in the net. 3. The team is on its way to health and prosperity, with Kessler working his way back to form, Bye and Borrero’s return hotly anticipated by Revs Nation, and the offense looking less stifled when approaching the opponent’s net.


My three burning questions: 1 Where is this team going in terms of having a striker/finisher who can give 75-80 minutes, 2 what’s the over/under on the Revs once again having a consensus top 3 MLS GK in Ravas? 2 months? 3 months?, and 3. Are the Revs going to be able to make a run for the Cup this year? This window with Carles won’t be open forever, and the postseason collapse of 2021 is still fresh in fans’ minds.


One new “tradition” this year - the “tossing” of a “box of tea” with the opponent's name on it out of The Fort. Maybe it’s because it was new, but it felt a little underwhelming. One suggestion I saw on social was to have local groups throw many “boxes of tea.” I still like the red paint slash across a defeated opponent’s name after a victory…maybe it can come back?


So, coming up is away at Atlanta and home vs Cincinnati. Right now I think the match against Atlanta is a tossup. Neither team is really clicking yet, but 1. it’s in the Peach State, 2. the Revs will have played a Wednesday night game against Alajuelense – though with Carles resting that night, and 3. Thiago Almada. As for Cincinnati, while they were statistically similar against Chicago as the Revolution was against Toronto, they’ve been winning or drawing in their matches, but mostly winning. I think the Revs could break through against Cincinnati (or Atlanta for that matter), but until it happens I’m not sure the entire team is 100% convinced that they can. The first win of a season counts for more than 3 points, and the Revs don’t have theirs yet.


Go Revs! Protect the Fort! Bring the Fight! Spill or Dump the Tea!


Revs On Both Coasts Slyde-ing Scale for Games 1 and 2

Category

Matt

Josh

Average

Offense

7


7

Midfield

7.5


7.5

Defense

7.5


7.5

GK

8


8

Strategy/Coaching

8


8

Team Composure

8.5


8.5


Average Score on the Revs Slyde-ing Scale:  7.75/10 - maybe something’s brewing this season?


Twitter and Instagram: @RevsCoasts


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