CARSON, Calif. – Wednesday morning’s modified preseason scrimmage against LA Galaxy II offered the New England Revolution a valuable opportunity to test their depth and provide extended minutes to those players who hadn’t seen as much action in the first three preseason matches.
Seven such players went the full 60 minutes of the abbreviated game, including Emmanuel Boateng, who opened the scoring in the 20th minute with his first preseason goal in a Revolution jersey. Damian Rivera played 30 minutes and also bagged his first preseason goal of 2021 as the Revs claimed a 2-1 win over the USL Championship side.
“I thought it was a good exercise for us,” said goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr., who started and played the first half. “I think oftentimes when you’re playing a younger team it’s easy to play down to a certain level, but I think we did well in doing the right things, staying disciplined, and at the end of the day, results matter, so it was a good win for us.”
Buchanan and Kessler make preseason debuts; Caicedo and Mafla go 60 minutes
Tajon Buchanan played the first half on the left wing and Henry Kessler also went 30 minutes in central defense, marking preseason debuts for the duo that spent the bulk of March on international duty with the Canadian and U.S. Under-23 sides, respectively. Both are match fit as Buchanan started four games and Kessler three at the Concacaf Olympic Qualifying Championship.
“It’s good having them back,” Boateng said. “They’ve been back in quarantine for a week or so, and it was nice to get them onto the field. They looked pretty fresh out of national team camp, so definitely good to have them back.”
It was also an important day for Luis Caicedo and Christian Mafla, who both went the full 60 minutes after making their preseason debuts with brief appearances against LAFC last Saturday. Caicedo moved well in central midfield, while Mafla was on hand to prevent a late equalizer with a last-ditch block.
“It’s a long season, so I think to have guys as healthy as possible, as often as possible is good,” said Edwards Jr. “So to have those guys healthy going into the season is important for us.”
Edwards Jr. returns four weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery
Exactly four weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. started and backstopped a scoreless 30 minutes on Wednesday morning. A free agent signing this past offseason, Edwards Jr. was back in training last week, well ahead of schedule.
“Fortunately I’d put a lot of work in in the offseason and I came in strong and fit, so the process coming back was much faster than we anticipated,” he said. “They put me at four-to-six weeks, got back in three. I was able to train over the last five, six days, get some time in a game, so it’s nice to get some preseason [minutes] before the regular season starts.”
Edwards Jr. is a seven-year MLS veteran having spent the previous six seasons with Orlando City SC (2015-18) and D.C. United (2019-20).
Saturday showdown with LAFC represents final preseason test
A rematch with Los Angeles FC awaits on Saturday (3 p.m. ET) at Banc of California Stadium, where the Revs will face their final preseason test before their season opener at Chicago Fire FC on April 17. New England and LAFC played to a 2-2 draw last weekend at the same venue.
Those who didn’t feature in Wednesday’s scrimmage – including the likes of Gustavo Bou, Adam Buksa, Carles Gil, and Matt Turner – will likely see extended minutes on Saturday as the Revs utilize the match as something of a dress rehearsal one week out from the opener.
“I think the fitness level for most of the guys the coaches are happy with, so right now that everybody’s back, just the last 10 days [of preseason], get ready,” said Boateng. “We’ve got a game coming up in a few days, just kind of get some finishing touches, what we need to get ready for the season. But I feel pretty confident that we’ll be ready by then.”