Playing on a quick turnaround after Thursday’s game, the Revs went on the road Saturday to Knoxville playing in a must-win situation for both teams hoping to reach the postseason.
“With the quality squad we had going into this season, we felt we could compete for the regular season conference title,” Revs GM Eric Morrison commented. “The ball didn’t always bounce in our favor, but the team has played very well in most games so I’m confident that we can make an impact in the playoffs. The Southeast Conference is unbelievably difficult and going into this week with only six points separating the top of the table from the bottom, made this match a must-win to guarantee a spot in the playoffs.”
On a very hot day in Knoxville, both teams came out cautiously, conserving energy and getting a feel for the game. In the first 30 minutes, the Revs created a couple of good chances but were denied by Emerald Force goalkeeper Ryan Coulter.
The breakthrough came in the 40th when Revolution standout Alex Harlley drove through the Force defense and drilled a shot past the keeper. At the halftime whistle, the game was still 1-0 in Georgia’s favor.
As the second half began, both sides came out attacking. Harlley floated around the front line and continually harassed the Force, creating several opportunities. In the 63rd, Jamaican U-20 star Kwesi Watts subbed in for the Revs and immediately influenced the game. Receiving a pass from Harlley, Watts dribbled across the front of the Force defense and hammered a left-footed shot forcing Coulter to make an amazing save. Just two minutes later, Coulter saved another great shot by Kwesi.
The game continued with both teams creating chances, but not able to convert. This game was one of the best defensive efforts by the Revs this season, only allowing two shots on goal. Coulter had an outstanding day for the Force as the former Irish professional finished with twelve saves. The match ended with the Revs on top 1-0 and playoff-bound.
“That was a tough opponent (Knoxville) last night,” Revs Head Coach Steo Magennis added. “They were very organized and were in the bout until the last minute. It certainly wasn’t our best performance. It took some great team defending and individual brilliance from Alex Harlley’s goal to nab all three points. With that win, it secured our spot in the playoffs. I am delighted with the progress that this group has made. We are well-equipped to be successful in the postseason. It’s a special group and I’m blessed to be a part.”
The Revs host Chattanooga FC on Friday in McDonough to finish the regular season. Emerald Force close out their season Saturday at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
Contributor: Georgia Revolution FC
Photo Credit: Missy Morrison