The Revolution’s eight-game unbeaten run came to an end with a 2-1 defeat against Inter Miami on Saturday. An interesting clash of tactical systems in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was partly overshadowed by several controversial officiating decisions.
After Miami took an early lead off of a deflected David Ruiz shot, New England captain Carles Gil scored a 26th minute equalizer following an impressive solo run. The hosts regained the lead shortly before halftime when Josef Martinez was left unmarked in the box, notching his 101st career MLS goal.
"A SMASHING HIT INTO THE BOTTOM CORNER!"— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) May 14, 2023
That's our Carles Gil!! pic.twitter.com/rLoGJSPVtj
In the second half, the Revolution created multiple opportunities, but were unable to find another equalizer, even after Ruiz received a second yellow card and was sent off in the 81st minute.
New England (7-2-3) remains atop the Eastern Conference as FC Cincinnati — tied with the Revolution for first place — do not play again until May 17.
Here are a few takeaways:
▪ The Revolution started slowly, and Bruce Arena was not happy about it. New England began badly over the opening 15 minutes, struggling to keep possession and committing unforced turnovers.
▪ Revolution goalkeeper Djordje Petrović was called into action early, making a timely save on Miami forward Leonardo Campana’s close-range shot towards the far post.
We keep moving forward. pic.twitter.com/YeZJNPz2ot— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) May 14, 2023
▪ Eventually, Miami was able to make the fast start count, with Ruiz’s deflected shot from the top of the box arrowing its way into the corner of the goal. Arena shared his displeasure with his team’s start.
“I think the way we started that game was disgraceful,” said Arena. “To fall behind by a goal in the first seven minutes of the game and the way some of our guys stepped on the field to start that game was poor. Ultimately, it cost us the game.”
“I don’t think we were as ready to play as they were,” New England center back Dave Romney admitted.
▪ The Revolution, playing a 4-2-3-1, initially had trouble against Miami’s system (which looked like a 3-5-2). It was only when New England outside backs DeJuan Jones (who led the team in touches and passes) and Brandon Bye began to get forward that the visitors started finding weak points in Miami’s setup.
▪ Some of the officiating decisions were puzzling.
After Miami took the lead, New England eventually began to settle in. Warning signs flashed for Miami’s defense when a clever pass from Revolution midfielder Noel Buck put forward Bobby Wood in on goal (though Wood’s inside-of-the-foot shot hit the side netting).
Less than a minute later, Buck appeared to go one step farther, weaving his way around defenders before curling a shot into the far corner of the net.
The celebrations were short-lived, however, as a video assistant referee check led to the goal being ruled out due to midfielder Latif Blessing standing in an offside position and — according to the call — impeding Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender’s view of Buck’s shot.
We may be down by one, but it’s still Buck SZN pic.twitter.com/5STcLsfSNp— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) May 14, 2023
“The goal they called back was a good goal,” Arena said. “That’s not interfering with the goalkeeper. It’s amazing to me that they would call that goal back. I don’t know what the VAR is thinking.”
▪ In the second half, Ruiz seemed to have drawn a second yellow card for a rough challenge on Gil. But after a delay, Miami midfielder Dixon Arroyo received the yellow card instead. Ruiz was later sent off for time-wasting.
“The second yellow was probably a red card,” Arena said when asked about Ruiz’s foul on Gil (which he avoided being booked for). “He could’ve broken Carles Gil’s leg.”
▪ Carles Gil shined even in defeat. As has become something of a tradition for Gil during his time in New England, he was the center of attention for the opposition’s defense. Miami fouled Gil five times, chipping him on several other occasions that evaded official acknowledgment.
Despite the fouling, Gil was composed in possession all night, scoring a goal and nearly setting up several others. After the slow start, one of the main factors in the Revolution’s response was simply getting the ball to its playmaker,
“Carles obviously had an outstanding game,” said Arena.
Amid a series of early-season injuries, the 30-year-old Spaniard’s presence has been especially vital.
Hayden Bird can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.