New England Revolution

3 takeaways from the Revolution’s defeat in Philadelphia

Injuries continue to mount for New England, with Carles Gil exiting Saturday's loss.

Carles Gil Revolution soccer
Carles Gil prior to exiting Saturday's defeat against Philadelphia with an injury. Via MLS/New England Revolution

Injuries to multiple starters compounded what was already a tough 3-0 loss for the Revolution on Saturday night against the Philadelphia Union.

New England captain Carles Gil exited the game abruptly in the 35th minute with what the Apple TV+ broadcast called a “right leg injury,” while right back Brandon Bye was forced off near the end of the game after a collision (favoring his left arm).

Aside from that, it was a decisive defeat for the Revolution against a familiar Eastern Conference foe.

Here are a few takeaways:

A worrying trend of injuries continued.

Gil’s injury didn’t appear to be serious in the moment, though he quickly realized that his night was over. After raising his arm to the bench, Gil sat down and waited for treatment from the medical staff.


Exactly what the nature of the right leg injury is remains to be seen.

“We’ll know more after we get an MRI,” said Bruce Arena after the game.

Any Gil absence from the lineup will have enormous ramifications. As the literal centerpiece of New England’s midfield, the 30-year-old is essentially irreplaceable in current circumstances. While the Revolution can (and have) coped with injuries to Gil before, it’s a process that’s produced mixed results (see: the 2020 regular season).

Bye went off late in the second half clutching his arm, a testament to the physicality of the game against Philadelphia.

Like Gil, the right back provides both experience and quality at a position where New England lacks an abundance of depth. It could mean that 2023 MLS SuperDraft No. 4 overall pick Joshua Bolma finally gets a run in the lineup, or possibly that left back DeJuan Jones moves to the right and another bench option (perhaps Ben Sweat) slots in on the left side.

Midfielder Matt Polster also appeared to pick up a leg injury, though he was able to persevere. In all, it underscores a difficult early-season trend of injuries. Forward Gustavo Bou, winger Dylan Borrero, center-back Henry Kessler, and several others are already out. Arena’s team can ill-afford too many more absences.

Mistakes proved costly.

As for the game itself, it was mostly even over the first 45 minutes. Even with Gil heading to the bench, 18-year-old academy graduate Jack Panayotou came on and showed flashes of his talent in difficult circumstances.


In the second half, the Union were able to execute several swift counterattacks that led to goals. The first goal resulted from a quick throw-in, which caught center-back Andrew Farrell out of position and left fellow center-back Dave Romney trying (unsuccessfully) to mark two players.

From there, New England struggled to create any breakthroughs despite enjoying much of the possession. The Union simply waited for opportune moments to counter, and found two more goals as the Revolution failed to register a shot on target.

In each case, Philadelphia exploited New England errors.

“Mistakes in a game like this are going to cost you,” remarked Arena, “and they did.”

Strikers struggling to produce.

One worrying aspect of the Revolution’s recent struggles — the team has lost two league games in a row, and three overall including the U.S. Open Cup defeat — has been the play of the team’s strikers.

Without Bou in the lineup (he continues to deal with an injury of his own), forwards Bobby Wood, Giacomo Vrioni, Jozy Altidore, and Justin Rennicks have failed to make much of an impact over the last two weeks.

Each has been given varying minutes without too much to show for it. Wood, who started on Saturday, had what was probably the Revolution’s best chance of the game. He found himself on the end of a left-sided cross from winger Emmanuel Boateng, but couldn’t place his shot into the far corner (sending the ball wide of goal).


Vrioni, one of the team’s “Designated Players,” came on for Wood in the 66th minute but contributed just five touches on the ball. He has yet to make a consistent impact for New England, though his presence was more necessary than ever with fellow Designated Players Gil and Bou out.

If Gil misses more than a game — and given that Borrero is out for the season with a torn ACL — Arena is beginning to run short of dynamic attacking options. He (and the rest of the team) will need greater contributions from the strikers up front if New England will have any chance of continuing what was until recently a solid start to the 2023 season.


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