Tajon Buchanan has seen time at several different positions for the New England Revolution but might have found his new role in Bruce Arena’s squad going forward after a stellar performance on Tuesday.
Buchanan impressed at right back for the Revs in Chester, scoring his first career playoff goal in a 2-0 upset win over the Philadelphia Union. The second-year player was a live wire, helping shutdown the No. 1 at Subaru Park while also being a nuisance for Kai Wagner for most of the night.
“Last year was his first year professionally, and we knew during the regular season watching him in training that he was a player with a lot of potential,” Arena said post match. “And he knew in preseason this year that he was going to get opportunities. He’s an athletic kid, he’s technically good, and he’s got a little bit of a chip on his shoulder.”
“He’s a very competitive guy. We didn’t hesitate a second knowing that he could make that adjustment there, because he’s played right midfield, which in a lot of ways has similar responsibilities to right back. The adjustment to that position wasn’t that difficult.”
Buchanan was drafted in 2019 as a forward after one impressive season the Syracuse University, but has quickly become a versatile piece of the Revolution squad. The Ontario, Canada native has seen time as a right winger, a right midfielder, and a right back for the Revs and showed another positive glimpse of what he brings to the table as a starter.
After Adam Buska scored the opening goal for the visitors, Buchanan pickpocketed Wagner on the right wing before sliding a shot past Andre Blake to pad the Revs lead. It was a confident finish for Buchanan, whose three career MLS goals have all coincidentally come against the Union in his two league seasons.
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“That was a great goal, great work from Tajon [Buchanan],” goalkeeper Matt Turner said. “That’s just what he did tonight and he played so well. He was getting up and down the flank, winning headers, winning his 50/50 balls, taking guys on, making them foul him, and keeping [Kai] Wagner down in his own half which was huge because he provides some good service in the attacking third for Philadelphia.”
“Tajon played well and for the goals to come in quick succession didn’t really allow Philly the chance to reset. If you only score one, they can say ‘Well, we’re only down 1-0’ but if you score that second goal it puts them under a little bit more pressure. I think from there on, I wouldn’t say we had control of the game because they had a lot of the ball and more attempts on goal after that, but we knew what we had to do to get out of there with the win and advance.”
Buchanan has seen his role increase in 2020 for the Revolution, playing in 25 matches to date compared to his 10 in 2019. Not only has Buchanan seen his playing time increase in his second season, but his overall play has improved on the field.
Tuesday night saw Buchanan keep one of the top left backs in check for 90 minutes while also providing a threat down the right wing on several attacking chances. Most importantly, he helped the Revs to a first head-to-head victory over the Union since 2017 and now will look to play a role in New England’s second round trip to Orlando City this weekend.
“They’re Supporters’ Shield champions, you know, best team in MLS,” Buchanan said. “At the end of the day, we knew if we brought the same energy and the fight that we did against Montreal, and the way we’ve been playing all season, that we had a chance to win this game. We did that. I’m happy we came out with a win tonight and we move on.”
“It’s a different positon, something I’m learning on the fly. But it’s not too much different than playing wing. I just have more defensive responsibilities and just picking my moments when I’m going forward. I know Carles [Gil] is an excellent players and he’s going to keep the ball and get me the ball. So when I do pick my moments to go I know I just have to be clean in the final third and produce something when I get the ball.”