Revolution Talk: Three Takeaways From Season Opener

On Saturday the New England Revolution fell to the Montreal Impact 2-1 at Olympic Stadium in Montreal. The chance for points in the MLS season opener was there for the Revs but ultimately they couldn’t find the equalizer.

Young Backliners Showed Flashes Of Brilliance

Bruce Arena’s options on the back-line were slim for this opener. Seth Sinovic, Antonio Delamea, and Alexander Buttner were all unavailable. He opted to go with Andrew Farrell and Henry Kessler at center back and then Brandon Bye and DeJuan Jones on the wings. All three of the youngsters showed flashes of brilliance on Saturday.

DeJuan Jones: Jones showcased his blazing speed pushing the Impact’s back-line into a backpedal. Finishing still isn’t there for Jones but that will come with time. As for his defense, it was suspect at times. On Montreal’s first goal of the match, Jones was caught sleeping. On the other hand, Jones played some impressive emergency defense that likely saved a goal.

Brandon Bye: Bye wasn’t great in this one and didn’t move a whole lot. That being said he had a few nice passes. One was a header to Wilfried Zahibo off a Gustavo Bou service. Zahibo’s goal may have been ruled off-sides by VAR but was still a nice thought by Bye. Another nice moment for the third-year player was a cross he had in the closing minutes of the match. Bye sent a perfect cross to the far post to an unmarked Tajon Buchanan whose header went right off the woodwork. Should have made it 2-2. One of Bye’s major criticisms last year was his inability to cross the ball, this preseason and through week one of the regular season shows he is much improved in that area of his game.

Henry Kessler: Kessler was likely the best of the backliners with fairily consistent play throughout the match. Just like he had in the preseason he was calm under pressure and only had a few poor decisions when trying to move the ball up the pitch. The rookie also had a perfect tackle late in the match to stop a breakaway chance by Montreal. He is in the Starting XI from here on out in my opinion.

“I think Henry was one of our better players. Henry and Fagundez I think had a good game as well. Those were two players that I think won their matchups on the day.”Bruce Arena on Kessler

Olympic stadium Needs To Be Closed Or A New Surface

One thing Saturday proved was that the turf in Olympic Stadium isn’t a suitable playing surface for athletes. On a number of occasions, there were odd bounces of the ball including one that cost Christian Penilla a breakaway look. But the real worry is the potential injury risk the surface has on players.

“No one can adjust to that surface,” said Bruce Arena. “That surface shouldn’t be allowed in the league in all honesty.”

Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner when making a save looked to have his foot caught in the turf and hurt his knee. While he stayed in the game after medical attention it solidified the point that the turf in Montreal is dangerous for players. MLS has had its fair share of field quality problems but if the Impact want to continue to use Olympic Stadium for matches they need to replace the turf.

Lack Of Killer Instinct Amongst Revolution Attackers

While I think it is way too early in the MLS season to harp on players for their miscues I do think there was a lack of killer instinct for the Revolution. Far too many layoffs instead of taking the shot. The main culprits were Diego Fagundez and Penilla who handed off late chances instead of either driving the ball in themselves or taking the shot.

Overall there is a lot of room for improvement from the Revolution going forward. Far too sloppy in the final third and way too slow in closing down attackers and getting the ball out of their own half. Going up against an Impact team that has already played competitive matches in CCL play was a tough draw. But the chance for points was there and the Revs failed to grab them.

Bounce back now needed in the home opener against the Chicago Fire next Saturday.
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New England Revolution Fall To Montreal, Chances Were There

On Saturday in the MLS season opener in Montreal, the New England Revolution fell to the Montreal Impact 2-1. With the loss, the Revolution drop 0-1-0 on the young MLS season.

“Obviously not a good result. I think Montreal outplayed us on the day.”Bruce Arena on the outcome of the match.

New England took an early led with Gustavo Bou going short off a corner to Christian Penilla who sent a curling ball into the box to find Teal Bunbury. Bunbury rocketed the ball in off the volley to make it 1-nil. This was Bunbury’s 35th career goal with the Revolution. With it, the MLS veteran is tied with Juan Agudelo for 8th all-time in franchise history. Montreal was able to find the equalizer in the 37th minute with Romell Quioto scoring at the far post in the back of a sleeping DeJuan Jones.

Following a half-time substitution of Wilfried Zahibo for Scott Caldwell, the Revs thought they had a lead taking goal. Off a Bou free-kick, Brandon Bye headed a ball to Zahibo who scored over the top of Montreal’s goalkeeper Clement Diop. Unfortunately, after VAR the goal was ruled off-sides with Zahibio in an off-sides position following the header from Bye. Following that overturned goal the momentum clearly flipped to the Impact. Montreal broke the stalemate with Maximilliano Urruit scoring a chip of a goal in the 80th minute.

“It is no excuse but it is tough. But it is apart of the modern game, so it is something you have to deal with and you have to be ready for. Whether you have to be ready to be 2-1 up or 1-1 still. That’s just part of it really. Henrry Kessler on the VAR overturned goal.

Quick Takeaways

New England was missing a number of players due to injury including their star playmaker Carles Gil who has been sidelined with a foot injury. In addition to Gil’s absence, the Revolution were without Antonio Delamea, Seth Sinovic, Luis Caicedo, and Alexander Buttner.

At times the Revolution looked outmatched by the Impact with New England looking slow at times and failed to not only close down attackers but to make smart passes. The chances were there for the second goal including a perfect cross from Bye to Tajon Buchanan in the closing minutes. Buchanan’s header hit the post and a prime scoring chance was squandered.

“But on the day the basic things we did poorly. Passing the ball, winning tackles, and still, we were in a position to maybe get something out of the game. But failed to do that obviously.”Bruce Arena on what went wrong

New England should have come away with a point from this match but failed to do so. While it isn’t the end of the world there seemed to be too many lay-offs by attacking players who delegated rather than taking the shot for themselves. The prime culprits were Diego Fagundez and Penilla who didn’t have that killer instinct that was needed to bury the equalizer.

The Revolution will be back in action next Saturday when they host the Chicago Fire in their 2020 MLS home opener at Gillette Stadium.

“We will re-group and get ready for next Saturday.” Bruce Arena on next week.
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Paw Sox Spring Training: Brian Johnson Throws Two Scoreless Innings

The Red Sox took on the New York Yankees on Saturday afternoon at Jet Blue Park. While the Red Sox fell to the Yankees by a score of 5 to 2, Brian Johnson who will probably start the year at AAA Pawtucket, pitched very well in two innings of work. In two innings of work, he struck out two batters. Below, is the breakdown of how all players who will probably be on the Paw Sox did in the game.

Nick Longhi: 0 for 2 at the plate.Juan Centeno: 0 for 1 at the plate.Tzu-Wei Lin: 2 for 3 at the plate.Jonathan Lucroy: 0 for 2 with a walk and two strike outs. Josh Ockimey: 0 for 1 at the plate with a strikeout. Bobby Dalbec: 1 for 2 with an RBI and a strikeout. C.J. Chatham: 0 for 2 at the plate. Jeter Downs: 2 walks in 2 at bats.

Pitchers:

Mike Shawaryn: 1/3 of an inning with 1 walk. Jeffrey Springs: 1 inning with 3 strikeouts. Brian Johnson: 2 innings with 2 strikeouts.

Later on in the game, catcher Juan Centeno dragged his foot across first base and fell down. He was clearly in some pain after that as he came off the field. After the game, Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke told the media that Centeno had a sprained ankle.

Centeno has a sprained ankle but it’s not broken, said Ron Roenicke.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) February 29, 2020

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New England Revolution Live Stream: Revs fall To Montreal

Tonight the New England Revolution will take on the Montreal Impact in their first MLS match of the 2020 calendar year.For a full look at today’s match make sure to check out our preview.

What: MLS Match

Who: New England Revolution vs. Montreal Impact

Where: Olympic Stadium, Montreal, Quebec

When: Saturday, February 29, 3:00 p.m. ET

How: The game will be broadcasted on NBC Sports Boston and on their website as well as the MyTeam app.

I will be liveblogging the match below with the Starting XI, key events and insights. Follow along here or on Twitter @TannerRebelo.

Pre-Match Notes:

Revs Starting XI: Matt Turner, Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler, Scott Caldwell, Gustavo Bou, Adam Buksa, Teal Bunbury, Diego Fagundez, Brandon Bye, DeJuan Jones, Christian Penilla

Revs expected to be in a 4-2-3-1

Revs Bench: Brad Knighton, Tajon Buchanan, Damien Rivera, Michael Mancienne, Kelyn Rowe, Justin Rennicks, Wilfried Zahibo

Revs Injury Report: Carles Gil, Antonio Delamea, Luis Caicedo, Seth Sinovic, Alexander Buttner

Impact Starting XI: Dio, Binks, Bojan, Guillard, Corrales, Fanni, Piette, Quioto, Taider, Urruti, Waterman

Impact expected to be in a 5-4-1

Impact bench: Bush, Jackon, Lappalaninen, Okwonkwo, Sejoic, Shome, Yad

First Half notes:

1′: We are off

2′: Impact keeping the Revolution pinned into their own half to start the match.

3′: DeJuan Jones speed still plays, makes a nice speedy run but a poor decision on the pass leads to a turnover.

6′: Gustavo gets a shot off that goes wide. Penilla centered the ball into Fagundez who got pickpocketed, Bou returned the favor and took a shot just outside the box.

12″: Penilla gets around a defender, crosses the ball to the center but no dice.

13″: Bou off a corner goes short to Penilla who sends a curling ball into Teal Bunbury whose perfect strike scores to make it 1-nil.

Way to start it off, @TealBunb!#NERevs // #MTLvNE pic.twitter.com/MvGq6goVis— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) February 29, 2020

16′: Teal’s goal was his 35th with the Revs, which moves him into a tie for 8th all-time in franchise history with Juan Agudelo. Also, Penilla looks like he did in 2018, much improved over last year.

17′: Bou with a perfect service off a corner to Fagundez whose shot gets deflected for another corner. Bou with another perfect service finds Buksa at the far post whose header forces Dio to make a tough save.

25′: Montreal gets a free-kick and were able to get into a dangerous position with a loose ball bearing down on Matt Turner whose able to gobble it up.

27′: Montreal is clearly on the front foot right now. A number of changes including a sitter wide open in the center of the box. The shot gets deflected and goes wide for a corner kick.

28′: DeJuan Jones just pushed all the way up to and his shot is swallowed up by Dio. The one thing that still alludes the second-year player is finishing.

33′: Penilla tracking back on defense, nice switches and communication on the right side of the back-line too. Forces a low probability shot to the near post that is easily stopped by Turner.

35′ Penilla gets a breakaway look but his first touch wasn’t ideal with the poor turf conditions coming into play. If he had been able to handle it he would have had a legitimate chance at goal.

37′: Montreal scores to make it 1-1. Service came in off a corner flick of a header finds Quioto at the far post. DeJuan Jones caught sleeping.

HT’: Revs enter the half tied 1-1 with Montreal

First Half Thoughts

Both sides had their fair share of chances and both goals came off set pieces. The main takeaway was the poor decision making under pressure from Revs players. Chances were there but they failed to get the ball out of their own half quick enough which allowed Montreal to create easy chances. Overal the Impact had the better 45 minutes.

Second Half:

46′: We are off.

46′: Zahibo in for Caldwell as a half-time sub.

47′: Zahibo forces a turnover, ball finds Bou whose shot forces a great save by Dio.

55′: Solid defense from Jones who saved a goal. Matt Turner misplayed the ball and forced Jones to step up and save the game.

64′ Montreal crosses a ball in an unmarked Quioto gets a shot off on Matt Turner. Turner suffered a knee injury to his right knee on the play. Foot may have gotten caught on the turf. He is staying in

65′: Michael Mancienne on for Bunbury. Replacing offense with defense to sure up the back-line and try to preserve the 1-1 stalemate.

73′: Zahibo buries it to make it 2-1 Revs. Service from Bou on the Free kick, Bye heads it down to Zahibo who sends it home with his right foot. Goal ruled no good by VAR, may have been slightly off-sides after the header by Zahibo. Bye’s header was on-sides, but Zahicbo was in an off-sides position following the header. Good call.

80′: Montreal’s Urrutti chips Matt Turner to make it 2-1. Way too much space for Impact to operate.

82′: DeJuan Jones is off, Tajon Buchanan on for the final Revolution sub of the game. Defensive minded player off for an attacking player. Arena looking to find the equalizer.

83′: Stoppage of play with an Impact player down with a head injury. Seeing a lot of negativity on Revs Twitter. Some tough breaks but this is a Montreal team that is already battled testest with CCL play.

86′: Bye finds Buchanan at the back post with a perfect cross, his header goes off the post. Fantastic look.

89′: Kessler makes a perfect tackle taking away a breakaway chance.

94′: Nice long ball from Bou found Penilla on the right side, good first touch by Penilla whose flick on goal was easily saved by Dio.

FT: Revolution fall 2-1 to Montreal. Way too many chances left on the table in the final third.
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NFL Rumors: Dak Prescott ‘Had Conversations’ With Cowboys About Contract

It appears Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are getting around to talking about his contract.
Dallas has until March 12 to decide whether to franchise tag the quarterback.  And owner Jerry Jones seems adamant about keeping Prescott under center.
“Dak’s our quarterback, and he’s our quarterback for the future,” Jones said, per USA Today’s Jori Epstein “… We know he wants to be here and we want him to be here long-term.
“He’s our guy.”
And according to ESPN, talks happened Wednesday for the first time since September.
“The meeting did not last long but the Cowboys hope to get a long-term deal finished before needing to use the franchise tag on Prescott,” Todd Archer reported.
Prescott reportedly turned down a $30 million offer from the Cowboys in August in hopes to make $40 million.
It certainly will be interesting to see how talks progress between now and March 12.

Max Kellerman Thinks Celtics Can Beat Bucks; Stephen A. Smith Disagrees

The Bucks are a force to be reckoned with this season, having already clinched a spot in the upcoming postseason.
But is there a team in the Eastern Conference that actually could beat Milwaukee come playoff time? According to ESPN’s Max Kellerman, there is — the Boston Celtics.
“I actually think, and I know it’s not in style now to say it it’s the Celtics,” Kellerman said Wednesday on “First Take.” “I think the Celtics are (the biggest threat to the Bucks in the East) and I’ll tell you why.
“No. 1, the Sixers (Philadelphia 76ers) are down Ben Simmons. I think the Sixers are the worst matchup for the Bucks, actually, at full strength. But we don’t know anything (about his injury) … He’s out indefinitely, they’ll re-evaluate in two weeks. We have no idea what’s going on with Ben Simmons, so I have to table them right now. I know the Raptors have been doing great — they’re down Kawhi (Leonard) permanently, he’s gone. So you look at the (Miami) Heat, there are reasons to like them.
“… But when I look at every other team in the East, and maybe I’m too old school this way, I ask myself — who has the player where the best play on that team is capable of being your primary scoring option, at least, on a Finals team. And I think that’s the Celtics. I think Jayson Tatum is a special and different kind of talent. Talent, plus the polished game already. And he’s starting to come into his own. … (Gordon) Hayward is healthy. Jaylen Brown is balling. You have Jayson Tatum, who I just mentioned is putting up back-to-back 30-plus point games now, and if you look at the Celtics, they’re not deep — and that’s an issue, there’s no doubt about it. But when they’re fully healthy, they almost never lose. And that cant just be ignored. When firing on all cylinders, they’re just about as good as any team in basketball. And for me, it comes down to when you have a squad, who’s your best player? Can I see him being the best player on a Finals team? Yes I can, Jayson Tatum, yes I can.”
And while Smith likes Tatum, he has a different opinion about beating the Bucks.
“When I look at the Milwaukee Bucks, clearly the creme de la creme of the Eastern Conference this year, how do you beat them? I think the team that comes to my mind is the Miami Heat,” Smith said. “When I look at the Miami Heat, clearly size is a factor and I understand that. The thing is, the Miami Heat is the second-ranked 3-point shooting team in the NBA. They beat Milwaukee in the one matchup they had against them this year, albeit it was the second game of the season and it was even without Jimmy Butler. But when I watched the game last night against Toronto … it’s difficult to shoot over these guys. They come out, they send taller guys out on the wing, and then if you drive into the teeth of their defense, they got a bunch of tree waiting out there for you in Milwaukee. How do you offset that? By having bigger dudes that can shoot perimeter shots. And that is what Miami has in Butler, in Duncan Robinson, in Tyler Herro. I know Kendrick Nunn, he doesn’t have that kind of size but I like him a lot. Bam Adebayo, this brother is big time in the open court as well.
“They’ve got athletes. They’ve got thoroughbreds. They’ve got guys that can play above the rim. They’ve got guys that can shoot from the damn parking lot. This is who Miami is and I think that’s the one ingredient that could ultimately humble the Milwaukee Bucks.”
You can check out the full conversation below:

Bryant With A near Must Win Thursday Night At Fairleigh Dickinson

The Bryant University Bulldogs will travel to Hackensack, New Jersey on Thursday night to take on Fairleigh Dickinson for the second time this season. The Knights came away with a 77 to 73 win during the opening weekend of NEC play back in January. Senior Adam Grant had 28 points in the game.

The Knights are led by Jahlil Jenkins on the offensive end, who has averaged 16.1 points per game this season. Kaleb Bishop has led the Knights on the boards with 8.3 rebounds per game. But the biggest thing for the Bulldogs to come away with the win is to have the effort on the defensive end. With the Bulldogs having the last four days off, their legs should be under them to give the defensive effort that has helped the Bulldogs succeed all year.

The Bulldogs as a team shouldn’t have any issues getting to the basket to score. The Knights currently rank in the bottom 25 nationally in defensive efficiency. Michael Green, who has averaged 17.6 points per game over his last five games, will be one guy to watch out for. Green won the NEC rookie of the week last week for the second time this season. His hot streak, and the play of the other freshman in Benson Lin and Charles Pride, will be keys on Thursday night. Those three players rank second, third, and fourth on the team in scoring. That’s behind Adam Grant.

Fans will be able to watch the game live Thursday night starting at 7:00pm on NEC Front Row.
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Shaquille O’Neal’s 13-Year-Old Daughter Is Looking Like Her Dad On Court

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Shaquille O’Neal rattled rims in the NBA for many years, and it appears his daughter Me’arah isn’t too far away herself. O’Neal’s son Shareef took to Twitter on Wednesday to post a video of his 13-year-old sister come extremely close to slamming one down.
Me’arah currently is 6’4, and looks like she has a bright future ahead of her.
For more, check out the “Social Drive” video above from “NESN After Hours,” presented by Nissan.

How Enes Kanter’s Positive Energy Provides Celtics Much-Needed Boost

Whether it’s on the court or behind the scenes, Enes Kanter’s energy is electric.
Kanter has been with the Celtics for less than a year, and already he’s become one of the most likable characters currently in Boston sports. But it isn’t just the entertainment factor Kanter has going for him. In fact, beyond his impressive offensive rebounding skills, his positive energy is one of the most important qualities he brings to a team no matter his role.
Head coach Brad Stevens likes that — a lot.
“There are some games where we’ve really leaned on him heavy, and there are some games where we haven’t as much,” Stevens said, via Celtics.com. “He’s been a great teammate all the way through, which I think is one of his great qualities. Obviously he’s a great rebounder, he’s a great scorer, he can do all that stuff, but he brings a good, positive energy every day.”
Considering the lack of chemistry on the 2018-19 squad, Kanter’s energy is a breath of fresh air for the Celtics and their fans.

Former Patriot Kevin Faulk Hired As LSU’s Newest Running Backs Coach

After liking what they saw from Kevin Faulk in their undefeated championship season, Lousiana State University has promoted the former New England Patriot as its running backs coach.
Drafted by New England out of LSU in the 1991 NFL Draft, Faulk returned to his alma matter two seasons ago as the Tigers’ director of player development.
“The day I graduated high school I knew I wanted to be a coach,” Faulk said in a statement issued by the school Wednesday.
“The coaches I had growing up meant so much to me and the community, and I knew I wanted to be that guy. To coach at my alma mater is the best thing I could ever hope for. I wear the purple and gold with pride every day, and I am ready to get going to help win another national championship.”
Faulk became LSU’s all-time leader in rushing yards (4,557) and rushing touchdowns (46), and the SEC’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards (6,833) before going on to play professionally and win three Super Bowls with New England.
The running back also still holds franchise records with the Patriots for all-purpose yards (12,349) and kickoff return yards (4,098).
Last season, LSU’s undefeated season resulted in the school’s fourth national championship and its first in the College Football Playoff era.