Right now it’s 8:06 AM, the day after the 4th of July, and less than 6 hours ago Matt Turner was fighting off dangerous headers from Kellyn Acosta and the remainder of his Rapids teammates to keep his Revolution side’s one-goal advantage. So how did a game that was scheduled to start at 9 PM EST end up finishing at around 2:30 in the morning the day after? Colorado’s unpredictable weather patterns gave anyone watching this game a lot of time to run to the bathroom, watch some fireworks, and a serious case of sleep deprivation if you were watching on the East Coast.
Before it even reached 9:00, lightning was seen in the distance, as tornado warnings continued to pop up in the surrounding areas time and time again, and rain battered Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. The start was pushed back to 10:00, in order to accommodate for the storm cells swirling overhead, and after a brief wait, the game was off and running. Both of these teams have been on fire as of late, with the Revs having been unbeaten in their last 6 matches, and Colorado their in their last 7.
Early on the Revs attack looked connected and dangerous, with Juan Agudelo and Carles Gil bossing the midfield around with ease, and finding tight seams in between Colorado’s young defense, headmanned by former Philly draft pick Keegan Rosenberry. Some great link-up play from Gil and Juan got the ball to Edgar Castillo, before his one-timed cross landed perfectly on Teal Bunbury’s chest in the box, as Teal put home his 5th goal in his last 6 games across all competitions, earning the Revs an early cushion. The goal carried more personal significance for the former SKC forward, as the goal was his 50th in his MLS career.
The Revolution attack didn’t stop there, as Juan Fernando Caicedo found space in the 24th minute, and rifled a shot that bounced off of a crouched Tim Howard, before Luis Caicedo’s headed rebound was caught easily by the former USMNT goalkeeper. About 4 minutes later though, referee Alex Chilowicz blew the whistle following a massive lightning bolt that had flashed through the sky, and another delay was upon us. Massive balls of hail began to rain onto the pitch, paired with lightning and heavy winds, the match looked like it may have to be abandoned.
The delay, which lasted another hour and a half, saw a majority of the home crowd decide to head home early, leaving a lot of navy blue seats vacant within the stadium. Finally, after nearly 2 hours of waiting, the match resumed at 12:10 in the morning on the East Coast, and the Revs looked to extend their lead. Well, that was before another bolt of lightning saw the game stalled yet again just 6 minutes later. With another delay, the referees made the decision to shorten halftime to 8 minutes, and attempt to complete the match before it reached too far into the morning.
After ANOTHER hour of waiting, the rain, and seemingly every other hellish condition that had berated the city of Denver all night had finally dissipated, and thankfully, the game would continue on. In part to the major lapse in continued play, the remainder of the first half consisted of a lot of errant passes, poor defending, and slow, boring play from both sides. With the halftime whistle blown, the teams visibly tired, the break was not as helpful as it may have been, if the game were to kick off when it was originally scheduled.
The shortened break was over practically before it even began, and both teams took the pitch, eager to finish the match. 6 minutes into the second half, and the Revs were able to dent Colorado again, as Carles Gil’s picture perfect set piece from 30 yards flew into the box before J.F. Caicedo’s head put it past Tim Howard, extending the lead to 2 with under 40 minutes to play. On a side note, the emergence of pairing Teal and Caicedo together up top has paid dividends, with the two really beginning to hit their stride, and the (rumored) signing of Gustavo Bou, the Revolution attack is truly looking more dangerous than ever.
The second half of this match was ALL Matt Turner, as the second-year starter came up massive time and time again, beginning with his point blank save on Kei Kamara’s header in the 70th minute that would’ve cut the lead in half, and set up a harrowing final 20 minutes. The ensuing corner kick though, did create a harrowing final 20 minutes, with Diego Rubio’s head pushing the ball into the left-side netting behind Turner, and moving the deficit to one. Colorado’s attack had been mounting and looked to surely take 2 points away from Bruce Arena’s side, with the Revolution parking the bus and defending like madmen.
In the 88th minute, Colorado got one of their chances to tie it up, with Sam Nicholson running onto a perfect ball in the box, but had his low strike denied by a sliding Matt Turner. Another corner kick looked to spell danger for the boys in blue, as Lalas Abubakar’s point blank header was going straight for the top right corner. That was, until Matt Turner dove across the entire face of the goal to tip away the most dangerous chance of the entire match, and keep the Revs in the lead with only a few minutes to go.
The second minute of added time saw Colorado’s Kellyn Acosta earn two straight yellow cards following a foul, and his backtalk towards a referee who had been extremely lenient with his attitude and play the entire night, leading to his earning of an inevitable red card. After breaking the record for the longest game in MLS history, the final whistle blew, and the Revolution were able to escape Colorado with a win in some less than ideal conditions. With the win, the Revs were able to extend their unbeaten run to 7 games, going 4-0-3 in the process.
With the Summer Transfer Window opening on July 9th, the Revolution have appeared to have already agreed to terms with Gustavo Bou, an Argentinian striker, currently playing for Tijuana in Liga MX, and could be looking to sign former FC Barcelona centerback Thomas Vermaelen, and Stoke City midfielder Bojan in what would be an unprecedented signing window for Bruce Arena's first time through the ringer in New England.
The play of Juan Agudelo has amazed me every single week this season, in the post Friedel-era. He looks more comfortable than I’ve ever seen, and deserved a secondary assist on Teal Bunbury’s early goal. The play between Agudelo and every attacker mimics that of Carles Gil, and with two prominent playmakers motioning the offense, the end product is brilliant.
Teal Bunbury continues his hot streak, scoring yet again on a goal that he certainly wouldn’t have scored a few months ago. His forward partner, Juan Fernando Caicedo, has been just as hot, totalling four goals on the season, and tacking on a few assists as well, helping lead the Revs to become tied for the final playoff spot.
Matt Turner absolutely stood on his head this match. Early on the keeper wasn’t necessarily tested as much as his opponent, but the second half was a gargantuan performance from #30, making save after save, and keeping the Revs’ lead safe in the waning moments of the match. If I’m Arena, like I said last week, Turner is my starter for the remainder of the year.
Edgar Castillo has been favored over DeJuan Jones in recent weeks, and for a good reason. His play has been critical in his side’s draw against Philly, and earning an assist in last night’s match against Colorado. While Jones is much faster and quicker than Castillo, Edgar’s physical presence, and passing fit the new-look starting lineup to a tee.
Wilfried Zahibo continues to impress me, even after I personally didn’t want to see him even make the 18 earlier this season. He’s taken over from Scott Caldwell and done a fantastic job, and last night showcased that very point. Time after time Wilfried was running literally through midfielders, pushing the ball up the field, and making crucial clearances alongside Luis Caicedo in the central midfield.
The Revolution take on D.C. United next Friday, at Audi Field.
Photo: (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)