Plenty of positives for a New England Revolution team ready to resume MLS play
The glass is half full for a New England Revolution side with everything to play for in the final stretch of the 2023 MLS season.
New England bowed out of the inaugural Leagues Cup in the Round of 16 in a penalty shootout to Querétaro FC on Monday. After defeating Atlas in the Round of 32 last, the second-placed side in the Eastern Conference was left without its top two playmakers in the attack, captain Carles Gil and striker Gustavo Bou.
Longtime play-by-play announcer Brad Feldman joined D.J. Bean on The Soccer Show to reflect on New England’s Leagues Cup run and look forward to final two months of the MLS campaign.
“[Gil] is such a special player,” Feldman said. “His ability to wheel away from pressure, to see a pass two moves before the space opens up, and his ability to take defenders out on the dribble.”
Bou’s absence was also felt in Monday’s loss. Since joining New England in 2019, no player has scored more goals for New England than Bou, who owns 39 tallies in a Revolution uniform.
“Bou’s just one of those guys who pops up,” Feldman said. “He could do nothing for 88 minutes, and then do two things that win you the game.”
However, having been plagued by the injury bug all season, there may still be some positives for the Revolution.
“If there’s a glass half full for them getting knocked out,” Feldman said, “it’s that he [Gil] has time to ice that knee and be fit for the league schedule.”
Another positive for New England is that players have stepped up when their numbers have been called upon in key moments throughout the year. On Monday night, it was 18-year-old Esmir Bajraktarevic, a Homegrown midfielder, who made the most of his playing time by netting the game-tying goal in the second half, his first with the Revolution, to force the penalty shootout.
“I give Richie Williams a lot of credit for bringing the creative guys on” Feldman said. “It really changed the game. Tico [Damian Rivera], Nacho [Gil], and especially Esmir [Bajraktarević] really made it a different equation for Querétaro. A great goal from Esmir. I’m really happy for him.”
New England is scheduled to resume MLS play on Sunday, August 20 with an away match at Nashville SC. If Nashville wins its Leagues Cup Quarterfinal match against Minnesota United this weekend, the match against New England will be rescheduled to a late date.