FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The narrative around Nashville SC ahead of Wednesday night’s visit to Gillette Stadium was that they’re a hard team to beat, having suffered just one loss through the first half of the season while conceding less than one goal per game. That narrative held true to form as the New England Revolution struggled to break down the resolute visitors en route to a 0-0 draw.
It was just the second time this season that the Revs have been shut out, both at the hands of Nashville, who ceded almost 70 percent of the possession to New England and were out-passed by a margin of more than 2-to-1 (645 to 293), but largely limited the hosts to half-chances.
“Technically poor performance,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “We had to be better on the ball with our passing to create some chances, and on the night, it wasn’t good. And that’s why that game ended 0-0.
“It’s difficult. You have to be sharper with your passing and your shooting. You need to be more accurate. You need to play a little quicker. I thought in the second half our spacing was better. It allowed us to get into the final third, but the final pass wasn’t there.”
New England’s trio of 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup participants all returned to the starting lineup as Matt Turner and Henry Kessler – fresh off winning the competition with the U.S. National Team on Sunday night – helped the Revs keep a third clean sheet in the last five games, while Tajon Buchanan occupied a central attacking midfield role with Carles Gil unavailable for the first time this season.
Buchanan, who was named Best Young Player after his Gold Cup performances with Canada, went 81 minutes and registered three shots with an 80 percent passing accuracy.
“Honestly, with Carles absent tonight, Bruce tried to put Tajon in a different role, and we know that that’s not the role that he’s accustomed to,” Gustavo Bou said via translator. “We knew he could connect with us and we had the freedom to connect in the attack all with one another. But honestly, I think he played a good game tonight, we just couldn’t find the space that we wanted to find because Nashville SC played a great game defensively.”
The Revs, still atop the Supporters’ Shield standings and with a healthy lead at the top of the Eastern Conference, will now set their sights on a cleaner performance on Sunday night when the Philadelphia Union visit Gillette Stadium for the only time this season.
“I think we know we’re obviously disappointed with not getting the full points at home,” said Andrew Farrell, who tied Shalrie Joseph for the most starts in Revolution history (254). “Nashville is a good team. They know what they want to do and they’re very effective. We weren’t good enough on the night – not clean enough, didn’t move the ball fast enough, didn’t move in open spots. We just turned the ball over too many times.
“It’s good to get that game out of the way and then have a game against Philly, who’s another good team. We’ve got to watch the tape and get ready for those guys.”