Mo Holtzman and Morey Hershgordon
2 hours ago
FOXBOROUGH, MA – JULY 15: Ian Harkes #14 of the New England Revolution celebrates his goal with his teammate during a game between DCUnited and the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on July 15, 2023 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Andrew Katsampes/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) – Nearly 30,000 fans flooded into Gillette Stadium on Saturday night and the New England Revolution made sure to put on a show. The Revs scored four goals from DC United’s star goalkeeper, tying their highest-scoring game of the season. The barrage of goals was highlighted by former DC midfielder Ian Harkes, who scored two Saturday night in just his third appearance for New England.
Here are three takeaways from the match:
Harkes shines against former club
The first two weeks have been a whirlwind for Ian Harkes in New England. The midfielder made a strong home debut on Wednesday, drawing praise from Bruce Arena after the game, and his pair of goals on Saturday could have cemented his place in Arena’s starting lineup going forward. “It was a very good performance,” Arena said. “I thought he [Harkes] and Matt Polster played very well in central midfield, and obviously two goals from Ian are very good.”
Harkes said after the game that he was happy to be on the scoresheet, and in doing so tied an interesting name on the list of New England’s all-time scoring leaders: his father John Harkes, who had two goals in his three seasons with the Revolution of 1999-2001. After a two-year spell with DC United that ended in 2018, the young Harkes says he’s glad to be back in America with the Revs after a four-year stint in Scotland. “The group has been great. I finished the season in Scotland and wanted to get back into a league and find a team right away. Fortunately, I found a group like Revolution,” Harkes said of his return to MLS. “The way they are playing, a really strong side. I was very blessed and happy to be a part of the group and to have been hired.”
Carles Gil takes the League lead in assists
While Harkes grabbed the headlines with his goal-scoring outburst, Revs captain Carles Gil was once again the engine that kept the team going, pulling the strings all night to add two assists. Along with his singular assistant on Wednesday, Gil has now registered 12 assists on the season, putting him atop the MLS. Gil’s chemistry with New England’s newest addition has been instant, something Harkes alluded to after the game. “He is [Gil] He’s a tremendous player, so I think if you give him the ball at the right times and then walk away from him, he’ll find you.”
Gil’s second assist of the night was a link play with Harkes that the midfielder finished off with flair, but the first showed more of Gil’s raw ability as a passer. in 45he Minute, Gil threw a perfect ball into the area for striker Gustavo Bou to head into the DC United goal. “The ball he picked for Gustavo was world class,” Harkes said afterward.
The league’s best will have the opportunity to enjoy the service of the Revs’ captain on Wednesday night, when Gil and company take on European giants Arsenal FC in the 2023 MLS All-Star Game. , Wayne Rooney, will be managing the MLS All-Star team, and after getting front row seats to Carles Gil’s show on Saturday night, it can be difficult to keep the midfielder out of your starting lineup. Also keep an eye out for Revs goaltender Djordje Petrovic, who has a strong case to start at net after pitching a shutout.
Despite adversity, Revs in Great Spot
With the MLS regular season on hiatus, the Revolution’s recent run of good form has pushed them into second place in the Eastern Conference. New England is 12-4-7 on the season and remains undefeated at home with nine wins and three ties. Arena praised his team after Saturday’s game for fighting back against the adversity they have faced thus far. “We have had 23 difficult games with injuries, suspensions and [international] calls,” Arena said. “Our guys have held up there and done well. I give them a lot of credit; They’ve done a good job.”
The good form will need to continue when regular season play resumes if New England is to keep pace in a crowded top East. Reigning Supporters Shield favorites Cincinnati FC are eight points clear of second-place Revs, the same gap that separates New England from seventh-place Atlanta United.
Looking to the future:
The Revolution will not play another regular season game until the end of August, as MLS will go on a month-long hiatus for the first League Cup. This World Cup-style tournament features every team from MLS and Liga MX (Mexico’s top division) in an annual competition that has a lot at stake: the top three finishers secure the Champions League spots for Concacaf for the next season. This trade doesn’t equate to any time off for the Revs, however, as they open this competition next Saturday on the road against the New York Red Bulls. New England has lost its last three games against the NYRB, including a 2-1 loss earlier this month. They will try to buck that trend and continue their good form when the match kicks off at 7:30pm on Saturday night.