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Revolution Defeat Philadelphia Union, 1-0

September 3, 2021 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - New England Revolution News Release


CHESTER, Penn. - The New England Revolution (16-4-4; 52 pts.) defeated the Philadelphia Union, 1-0, on the road at Subaru Park on Friday night. Midfielder Matt Polster netted the game's lone goal in the 33rd minute on Arnór Traustason's sixth assist of the season. The Revolution preserved the one-goal lead and picked up the seventh clean sheet of the season despite going down to 10 men in the 59th minute, as Traustason was ejected after picking up two yellow cards in quick succession.

With tonight's victory, New England improves to 7-3-3 on the road, setting a new club record for away victories. The Revolution, the first MLS team to reach 50 points this season, need only one more triumph to tie the team's all-time mark of 17 wins in a season. New England, 2-0-1 against the Union this season, including a 1-0-1 mark at Subaru Park, finish unbeaten in the season series against Philadelphia for the first time since 2015.

Goalkeeper Brad Knighton picked up his third clean sheet in his sixth start of the season. The former Union goalkeeper recorded eight saves in the shutout performance, one shy of his career high, as he improved to 5-1-0 on the season. Knighton's five consecutive wins are a personal best.

Polster, who registered his 100th start in MLS, netted his second goal of the season, both against Philadelphia. Meanwhile, Carles Gil returned to action in his first appearance in ret July 31 and submitted a 24-minute shift off the bench, logging one shot on target.

New England returns home next Saturday, September 11 for a meeting with New York City FC at Gillette Stadium. The home match kicks off at 7:00 p.m. ET on WSBK-TV38, myRITV, 98.5 The Sports Hub, and 1260 AM Nossa Radio.

POSTGAME NOTES

New England Revolution 1, Philadelphia Union 0

September 3, 2021 - Subaru Park (Chester, Penn.)

Team Notes:

The New England Revolution (16-4-4, 52 pts.) defeated the Philadelphia Union (8-7-8, 32 pts.), 1-0, at Subaru Park, holding on for the win despite going down to 10 men in the 59th minute.

The Revolution's 2.17 points per game through 24 matches keep the team on pace to challenge the MLS single-season points record (72 - LAFC, 2019).

The Revs are the first MLS team to the 50-point mark in 2021. New England's 52 points are already the third most in club history, seven away from the team record of 59, with 10 games remaining.

New England has reached 16 wins in a season for the third time in history. The club's next win will tie a Revolution record (17) set in 2005 and matched in 2014.

The Revs' seven away wins are a new club record as the team improves to 7-3-3 on the road in 2021.

The Revolution end the season series against Philadelphia with a 2-0-1 record, marking the first unbeaten season against the Union since 2015 (2-0-1).

The Revs' 45 goals and 24 first-half tallies both lead the league, as does the team's +17 goal differential (as of the end of Friday's match).

New England logged its seventh shutout of the season. The team's four away clean sheets are tied for most league wide.

Bruce Arena deployed a starting lineup featuring five changes from the club's last match at New York City FC on Aug. 28. Tonight's new starters were Brad Knighton, Brandon Bye, Wilfrid Kaptoum, Matt Polster, and Edward Kizza.

Individual Notes:

Revolution captain and MLS assists leader Carles Gil returned to action for the first time since July 31, entering the game in the 66th minute and logging one shot on target.

Matt Polster made his 100th MLS start, his 19th of the season, and scored his fifth career goal. Polster has now scored in back-to-back games against the Union as he now has his first multi-goal season in MLS since 2016 with Chicago.

Arnór Traustason recorded his sixth assist of the season, second most on the team, with a free-kick delivery on Polster's goal.

First-round 2021 MLS SuperDraft pick Edward Kizza made his first MLS start, adding to his eight substitute appearances on the year. Prior to this game, the rookie out of Pittsburgh earned a nomination for USL League One Player of the Month for August after scoring four goals over three starts with Revolution II.

Brad Knighton logged a shutout for the third time in six starts this season, making eight saves - one shy of his career high set in 2009 - as he improved to 5-1-0 on the season. The veteran and former Union goalkeeper has now won five consecutive games for the first time in his career.

Brandon Bye returned to the starting lineup, slotting in at right back for his 20th appearance of the season. Bye's last start came on Aug. 14 at Toronto. With Bye back in the squad, DeJuan Jones shifted to left back for his 21st start of the year.

Sporting Director & Head Coach Bruce Arena improves his career record to 234-135-109, with a 32-14-20 mark in New England. He is now six wins away from matching Sigi Schmid (240) for the most regular season victories in MLS history.

GAME CAPSULE

Referee: Jair Marrufo

Assistant Referees: Brian Dunn (AR1); Jeffrey Swartzel (AR2)

Fourth Official: Alan Kelly

Video Assistant Referee: Guido Gonzalez Jr.

Weather: 70 degrees and clear

Scoring Summary:

NE - Matt Polster 2 (Arnór Traustason 6) 33'

Misconduct Summary:

PHI - Nathan Harriel (Yellow Card- Bad Foul) 33'

NE - Arnór Traustason (Yellow Card- Bad Foul) 55'

NE - Arnór Traustason (Yellow Card- Bad Foul) 59'

PHI - Alejandro Bedoya (Yellow Card- Bad Foul) 71'

PHI - Quinn Sullivan (Yellow Card- Bad Foul) 77'

PHI - Anthony Fontana (Yellow Card- Bad Foul) 80'

New England Revolution: Brad Knighton; DeJuan Jones, Henry Kessler, Andrew Farrell ©, Brandon Bye; Matt Polster, Wilfrid Kaptoum (Carles Gil 66'); Tommy McNamara (A.J. DeLaGarza 90+5'), Arnór Traustason; Teal Bunbury, Edward Kizza (Scott Caldwell 62')

Substitutes Not Used: Earl Edwards Jr., Christian Mafla, Emmanuel Boateng, Luis Caicedo, Maciel

Philadelphia Union: Joe Bendik; Stuart Findlay, Jakob Glesnes, Nathan Harriel (Anthony Fontana 72'), Kai Wagner; Alejandro Bedoya ©, Jack McGlynn (Davó 72'), Paxten Aaronson, Leon Flach, Quinn Sullivan (ColeTurner 84'); Kacper Przybyłko

Substitutes Not Used: Matt Freese, Sergio Santos, Anthony Fontana, Aurelien Collin

Philadelphia Union Team Statistics New England Revolution

18 (8) Shots (on Target) 8 (3)

5 Blocked Shots 1

2 Saves 8

7 Corner Kicks 5

0 Offsides 2

13 Fouls 10

441 (81.9%) Passes Attempted (% Completed) 335 (76.4%)

60% Possession 40%

POSTGAME QUOTES: New England Revolution 1 at Philadelphia Union 0

Revolution Sporting Director & Head Coach Bruce Arena

On Matt Polster's set-piece goal:

Arena: "Well, it was a good service on the set piece by Arnór [Traustason] and a heck of an effort by Matt Polster to get on the end of it. What can I say? If the service is good, then you've got a chance. The service was pretty good on that play and Matt did a wonderful job getting at the end of it."

On Gustavo Bou's status:

Arena: "Gustavo [Bou] will be ready to play next week."

On the key to securing the win despite playing the final 31 minutes with 10 men:

Arena: "A lot of smart play. I think our 10 players working together. Brad Knighton came up with some big plays. The backline did a good job. Carles [Gil] came in the game and gave us position at times when they needed. I thought Teal [Bunbury] worked very hard. The play of [Tommy] McNamara and [Matt] Polster in the midfield was excellent. Our center backs, the whole backline did a good job. So collectively, the guys did a very good job, and we had a chance to get that second goal as well, so I think during those last 30 minutes, we did a pretty solid job of defending well, being able to keep the ball a little bit, and backing them up as well to give us a little bit of a breather also."

On the backline's performance to keep a clean sheet:

Arena: "They did a good job the entire night. Not that we were mistake-free, but that's our backline and we haven't had them together in a little bit. So, it was good to get them back on the field and they did well."

On a potential rivalry brewing between New England and Philadelphia:

Arena: "No, I don't think so. But let's be fair, this is a point in the season where teams across the league are dead. The scheduling has not been good, coupled with the international break, an All-Star Game, and playing three games a week. And Philadelphia has been beat up with call ups, they started the year with the [Concacaf] Champions League, and it's just a bunch of tired players out there. And it's been challenging. Players get a little frustrated. I don't think there's any bad blood between our teams. I think there's a lot of respect between the teams."

On Carles Gil's return and fitness:

Arena: "Well, [Carles Gil] played 25 minutes tonight, you saw that, and we're just going to slowly move him forward. We'll see how he recovers from this. In the next month, he'll be back at full speed, but we'll take it slowly."

On Arnór Traustason being sent off for a second time:

Arena: "Yes, it was a poor decision on [Arnor Traustason's] part. He's got to learn from this. He's an experienced player, he shouldn't be getting caught like that. We had a concern and we discussed taking him out of the game once he got the yellow card. We felt that he would be smart and be able to play the game out and obviously he did not."

Revolution Midfielder Carles Gil

On how he felt on the field making his return and what were the details of his injury:

Gil: "Yes, I feel good. I'm really happy to be back. Of course, it's my first game after only three training sessions, so obviously I'm not fit. It was not the best moment, because with 10 players, more distance, it was more difficult. But yes, I feel good and I'm very happy to get three points."

On Bruce Arena's message to him as he helped protect the lead with 10 men:

Gil: "To keep the ball, to try to pass the time, try to find one moment to create some chances. I had one against the goalkeeper. But yeah, it was difficult with 10 players. We defended very good and we know we are a team with good character in these difficult moments. We know defense and to be together, so it's a very important win."

On his fitness level currently and how he felt watching the team from afar while he was recovering:

Gil: "I need to train more with the team, to get more minutes. Maybe I'm 50, 60 percent, but maybe in one or two weeks, I will be good. So, I'm very happy. Yes, I saw all the games. We did an amazing job. We are a good team, we don't care who is playing. We can play without big players - Matt [Turner], Tajon [Buchanan], Gustavo [Bou], Adam [Buksa] - and we win three points. So we are a good team and we don't care who is playing."

Revolution Midfielder Matt Polster

On his goal in the 33rd minute and how he feels after colliding with the post:

Polster: "It's pretty much a standard set piece for us. We all have our individual runs. I just tried to beat my man, tried to get to the back post. Arnór [Traustason] puts in a really good cross and I just get in behind the defense and get a goal, so that was nice. I think we're all banged up after that game. Everybody's sliding around, winning tackles. We just showed a lot of character tonight."

On whether tonight's win was the most gratifying victory of the season:

Polster: "I'm not sure if it's the most gratifying. I think every time we go into a game, the standard for us is to get three points. That's where we're at in the season. We know we can go into hostile environments and win. I think the circumstances that you're coming to is obviously we're down a man for 30-plus minutes, that's difficult and I think we've shown before that we can grind games out. We're able to keep teams to limited chances. I thought our defense, the entire team was really good tonight. Brad [Knighton] in goal was great. Hats off to the boys. I thought we were really, really good tonight."

On the character the team showed in this win:

Polster: "This group just wants to win. I think the boys have said it a couple times. Sometimes we don't care how we win, we just want to win. Granted, I don't think we would want to go do that again, per se, but it's good to show that grit and character and winning mentality in these kinds of environments. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. So, to come out of here with three points is huge, because now we have a three-day break and we can just regain and go for the weekend against [New York] City now. So, it's really positive. I'm really proud of the boys. I don't think we played particularly well, but, you know, we can clean that up. I think the most important thing is the mentality we showed tonight, which was whatever it takes to get three points, and we showed that we can do that."

On working on set pieces in training:

Polster: "Yeah, we worked on those in training. I think, obviously, we rely on Carles to do most of the set pieces, but I think throughout the year, players have stepped up in moments for us regardless of the situation. Set-piece takers or guys to come in and play that haven't had a lot of minutes, come in and do really well. I thought Ema [Boateng] for a stretch there was playing really, really well. We need guys like that to step up in certain moments for us. Teal [Bunbury] played really well. We have guys that can come in and do a really good job for this group and help us get three points. We can rely on the entire team and that's what it's going to take to win something this year."

On whether he feels a rivalry is developing between the Revolution and Philadelphia:

Polster: "Sure, I think last year we played them, I don't know, six times. They had the better of us last year in five of those six games. We beat them in the playoffs. We were going to get them at one point and for them it kind of sucked that it was in the playoffs, and then it kind of gave us that ride into the Eastern Conference finals. Then this year, we've shown that - I thought the first time we were here, we should've had three points to begin with. I think we were wrongly done in that situation. Then to go home, get three points and then again come away in a hostile environment, get three points, we've shown that we want to compete in a high level. Philly is a good team and you have to win tough games. This was a tough game tonight."

On the team's mentality:

Polster: "I think the staff has done a really good job bringing a great group of players into a changing room. We don't have any outliers in this team. We have a lot of talent and the expectation is the next guy steps up and helps us get three points. I think this group has shown that so far this year. We just need to keep doing that, because come NYC next weekend, it will be another tough game. I would say that's a rivalry as well, a little bit now. It's going to take the whole group to achieve something this year and we know that. It hasn't been easy, obviously, with the international call-ups, injuries, and everything. We need every guy on this team to step up and help us win."

On Carles Gil returning to the team this week:

Polster: "Carles is a guy that kind of brings a spark to this team. He's arguably the best player in the league. So, when you have that kind of talent that you can, you know, we went a stretch without him and did really well. Now, we can implement him back into the team and that's going to help us toward the end of this year and help guide us a little bit, and get three points on a consistent basis, which we have shown previously anyway. It's nice to have him back. Everybody's happy. Like I said, he brings a spark to the group that not many players can do. I'm extremely happy he's back."

Revolution Defender Brandon Bye

On whether he feels a rivalry brewing between New England and Philadelphia:

Bye: "Yeah, I think there always has been. They know us, we know them. We've played each other plenty of times over the last couple years, so there's always some sort of rivalry. But at the end of the day, we got the win and that's all we're really worried about."

On the team's character in playing with 10 men for the final 31 minutes:

Bye: "Yeah, nothing new from us to be honest, but it was good to see it out, good to see the game all the way through for 90-plus minutes. Ten guys, a lot of different circumstances, missing guys, this and that, but everybody stepped up and played their part today."

On having Carles Gil back on the field:

Bye: "Carles [Gil] is a very good player. Everybody knows that. Everybody in the league knows that. So, it's good to see him back with us on the field. He's a great player, brings a calm to everybody. He's someone you can give a ball to and you know he's going to keep it and draw a foul, he's going to make a killer pass, whatever it is."

On the key to closing out the win:

Bye: "I think communication. Not only in the backline, but everybody in the midfield as well. Teal [Bunbury] and Edward [Kizza] up top - everybody shifts, and when you go down to 10 guys, everybody has to move just a little bit more. We were able to do that with Scott [Caldwell] coming off the bench, Carles [Gil] coming in, guys like that really put in a shift and so that makes the backline, makes Brad [Knighton]'s [job], makes our job easier. That was the key right there."


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