Revolution advance in Champions Cup with a 3-0 victory

The New England Revolution advanced to the Round of 16 of the Concacaf Champions Cup Tournament with a 3-0 victory over CA Independiente in leg two of a home-and-home series on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

The Revolution won the first game 1-0 on Feb. 21 in Panama for an aggregate score of 4-0. The Revolution will face two-time tournament champion Liga Deportiva Alajuelense of the Costa Rican Primera Division in a home and home series beginning on March 6 at Gillette Stadium.

Revolution goalkeeper Henrich Ravas picked up his second clean sheet in the tournament while Nacho Gil, Tomas Chancalay and Mark-Anthony Kaye accounted for the goals. The Revolution will resume MLS play with their home opener against Toronto FC on Sunday afternoon (2) at Gillette.

“I really liked that we got three goals and got a clean sheet and I don’t know if they got a shot,” said Revolution first-year coach Caleb Porter. “Partly that was because we controlled the game with the ball but I thought our team defending went really well.

“It was a comprehensive performance and now we have to turn around and recover and think about the Sunday game.”

Porter made a few significant alterations to the Starting XI that produced the win in Panama. On the back line, Andrew Farrell was shifted to right back in place of Nick Lima to make room for Henry Kessler in the middle alongside Dave Romney. DeJuan Jones was at his usual location on the left flank.

Giacomo Vrioni, who finished with two assists, was back at the top of Porter’s 4-2-3-1 formation but will sit out the match against Toronto FC due to the red card he accrued in the Revolution’s 3-1 loss at D.C. United on Feb. 24. Ian Harkes joined Matt Polster as the holding midfielders.

The Revolution were enjoying some quality time in CA Independiente’s scoring area when a brilliant collaboration between the Brothers Gil put New England up 1-0 in the ninth minute.

Vrioni controlled the ball on the right flank and dished the Carles Gil at the top of the box. Carles made as quick lead pass to Nacho Gil, who got behind the center back and beat keeper Eddie Roberts high inside the near post.

“That first goal was an unbelievable team goal,” said Porter. “There was very good passage of play and the kind of buildup that we want to see in the football that we play.

“It was on the ground and the tempo was good. It was a couple of switches and then break a line and go to goal. I really like that goal a lot.”

Referee Ismael Comejo put Vrioni on notice when he issued a him a yellow card for taking a dive in side CAI’s box in the 20th minute. Vrioni could be ineligible for the first Alajuelense pending an appeal.

Porter made a pair of interesting substitutions in the 46th minute, inserting Lima to replace Kessler and Esmir Bajraktarevic for Carles Gil. Bajraktarevic made his presence felt with a hard charge down the right flank to set up Chancalay for a chip shot goal that made it 2-0 in the 58th minute. Chancalay scored the lone goal in the first game. Vrioni made a sweet cross to Kaye for the third tally in stoppage time.

“Carles had to come out at halftime,” said Porter. “We don’t think it is anything serious but his Achilles was tight because of the cold and the new field and we thought we needed to be careful with it.

“We knew we had the kid Esmir to put in and I think everybody sees his talent. He is special player and very dynamic and case in point was that goal he created.”

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