FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution made a patchwork lineup work again Saturday, Carles Gil’s 18th-minute goal the difference in a 1-0 win over D.C. United before a crowd of 24,240.
Missing several regulars, the Revolution relied on local teenagers Noel Buck and Damian Rivera in midfield in increasing their home unbeaten streak to nine games. The Revolution (8-7-9, 33 points), who visit Canada for games against Toronto FC Wednesday and Montreal next Saturday, moved into playoff position (top seven) in the Eastern Conference with their second successive win.
Gil one-timed a deflected cross from Brandon Bye, Tommy McNamara setting up the sequence, lofting a pass to Bye, who went past Martin Rodriguez and crossed off a sliding Tony Alfaro.
Djordje Petrovic earned his fourth successive shutout and the Revolution improved their shutout streak to 371 consecutive minutes. Petrovic made impressive stops on Ravel Morrison, tipping a shot over the bar (fifth); Ola Kamara, punching away on the edge of the goal area (45th); and Taxi Fountas, going low to deflect a shot off a turnover (80th).
Buck, 17, made his first professional appearance, replacing Rivera in the 62d minute, and nearly scoring off an Emmanuel Boateng cross (68th), then feeding Gil for a shot off the right post (71st).
D.C. United (6-14-4, 22 points) has not won in 13 visits to Gillette Stadium since 2012.
“We played a very smart game, again, not mistake-free, but they did what they had to do,” Revolution sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena. “If we had done this all year we would probably have another dozen points at this point in the season. It’s good to see we’re defending well as a team and we’re getting goals. Given the situation, getting the 3 points is a real positive.”
Observations from Saturday’s game:
▪ Buck, born in Arlington, has been performing for the Revolution II team since he was 15. Buck appeared confident on the ball and defending against more experienced opponents, adding energy to the midfield and making intelligent runs. In the 82nd minute, Buck drew a defender near post for a Bye cross, leaving an open goal for McNamara, who seemed to catch a cleat in scuffing the finish wide. Rivera, 19, made his fourth start of the season. “I was very impressed,” Arena said of Buck. “Very competitive kid for 17 years old — passing was excellent, great ball he played to Carles.”
▪ Revolution central defenders Andrew Farrell and Henry Kessler have started together in the last four games, all shutouts. But Kessler could miss the Revolution’s visit to Canada because of vaccination issues, according to team sources. Farrell and Kessler have been in the lineup for 12 games this season and a total of 60 matches over three seasons.
▪ With Farrell and Kessler solidifying the center, Bye and DeJuan Jones attacked effectively on the flanks. Wilfrid Kaptoum combined effectively with McNamara in support of Gil in midfield.
▪ The Revolution injured list included defender Jon Bell (head), who was on the bench; midfielders Dylan Borrero (leg) and Lucas Maciel (leg); and forward Gustavo Bou (leg). Midfielder Matt Polster (illness), Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (leg), and Giacomo Vrioni (leg) were also out. The Revolution bench included Esmir Bajraktarevic, 17, who has yet to make a first-team appearance; plus A.J. DeLaGarza, Ben Reveno, Ryan Spaulding, and goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. Omar Gonzalez replaced Boateng in the 88th minute, and Christian Makoun made his Revolution debut in the second half.
▪ “We’re hopeful we’re going to add some players to our game-day roster that are going to, hopefully, help us against Toronto and Montreal,” Arena said. “We’ll see, over the next couple days. There’s a chance we get some back, there’s a chance we get none back.”
▪ After setting a league record with an 18-3 mark in one-goal games last season, the Revolution are now 6-5-9 in matches decided by a goal or less this year.
▪ Arena was coaching his 100th game with the Revolution since 2019. “I’ve learned there are four seasons in New England, and one of those seasons is a real tough one — the one in winter has really been rough. It’s been nice to come here and try and rebuild a team. We’re not there yet but we’re making progress.”
▪ D.C. recently added veterans Ravel Morrison and Victor Palsson, plus striker Christian Benteke, who is awaiting visa approval. Toronto improved its roster with Italian national teamers Federico Bernardeschi, Domenico Criscito, and Lorenzo Insigne. “It’s good to kind of get that momentum, to carry that momentum through,” Farrell said. “You just don’t really have too much time to think about, what just happened. We’ve just got to get ready to recover and get ready for a really good Toronto team. They are really good and they are really good at home. So, that’s going to be a big challenge for us and I’m looking forward to it. We are in a good run, and if we want to get to where we want to go this year, we have to get results.”
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at email@example.com.