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VAR: New England Revolution

by Jarrett Smith

This is Video Assistant Reassuring

The result:

1-0 victory for Atlanta United in the first round of the 2019 MLS playoffs.

How we got there

So this was a pretty unique situation, as Atlanta had played New England on decision day and won at home. Then they turned around and did the exact same thing the next week. Atlanta had a slew of chances in the game but managed just one goal through Playoff Franco™ and some good saves from Brad Guzan.

You can go back and watch this and see a few of the pieces that New England had in place that helped lead to their exciting 2020 playoff run (hello, Carles Gil).

How MLS was this game

It was more MLS Playoff than strictly MLS, meaning that it was a bit more cagey and absolutely had that ‘survive and advance’ feel to it that teams should never apologize for. Both teams had chances to get forward and create chances, but only Atlanta had the final product from a familiar source.

MLS playoffs are great, but unless they bring back the two-legged fixtures we will never be complete.

The goals

Franco Gonna Franco

Also peep that assist from Barco who had a really solid game on the day.

What’s the same

So you’re still going to have to deal with the same weapons that made New England really fun to watch late last year. Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou are terrifying on their own and downright nightmare fuel when they are in their bag collectively. Matt Turner is still in goal and capable of standing on his head when needed.

Some of you don’t need an introduction to Tajon Buchanan, but for those who do he’s turned into an energizer bunny who has the ability to set fire to everything he touches and should see plenty of time this year.

Adam Buksa also returns as one of the tips of the spear in the Revolution attacks.

What’s different

Diego Fagundez and Cristian Penilla are gone. Penilla had what he would surely call a disappointing 2020, while Fagundez had been there for a decade before heading to Austin.

As far as guys who have joined the Revolution, Wilfred Kaptoum joined the midfield from Barcelona B and is already drawing strong reviews for his work.

Christian Mafla has jumped right into the left back role after a decade in South America, and Arnor Ingvi Traustason joined in the offseason to provide some spark off the left side.

As far as how they’ll play, it’s still Bruce on the touch line so love him or hate him, you know what you’ll get.

What should you expect

Again, you know what you’ll get. Bou and Gil will be a problem. That can almost be set in stone. The trick for New England was making things happen if those two misfired, and Traustason is part of the balancing act on the left. One of the other new faces, Kaptoum, will be asked to make sure that the Revs don’t get trampled in the midfield.

As far as the right side goes, don’t be surprised if New England leans hard on that side of the field with Brandon Bye getting forward with Gil. Whoever has the left side for Atlanta will have their hands full, but the way Atlanta can stretch the field could create plenty of space.

They still only generated seven shots against DC and leaned hard on the right side of their attack so good luck George Bello for what should be a big test. Both teams should have opportunities, it’s just about converting those opportunities.

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