Tajon Buchanan is quiet and unassuming off the field, so much so his teammates had no idea he was capable of doing do a backflip until that is his post-goal celebration in the New England Revolution’s stunning 2-0 win over the Philadelphia Union in Round One of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Tajon Buchanan stuns Carles Gil with goal celebration
But now the word is getting out — Buchanan’s transformation to right back has been a big part of the Revs run to the Eastern Conference Final. The 21-year-old native of Brampton, Ontario, shone again on Sunday, playing an instrumental role in New England’s 3-1 win over Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium, setting up a pair of first-half goals.
“When he scored last game and pulls out a backflip, you saw the surprise on Carles [Gil’s] face, nobody had any idea. So I think that’s pretty funny and that’s just how he is,” goalkeeper Matt Turner said after the match. “He’s quiet, he’s a great listener so he knows he’s young and it’s not his natural position so he just wants to learn. He’s done a really great job and I think he did excellent today, left it all out on the field until he cramped up and had to come off and then next-guy-up is Brandon Bye and I thought he did really well. Everybody played so well today and it was just a great performance for us and for our club’s history.”
No coach in MLS history has more postseason wins than Bruce Arena, so he knows a thing or two about what it takes to be successful in the playoffs. He lauded Buchanan, who was tripped by Uri Rosell in the box for Gil’s 17th-minute penalty conversion and then played in the service that led to Gustavo Bou’s goal nine minutes later, as “outstanding.”
Watch: Tajon Buchanan helps set up Gustavo Bou's goal against Orlando City SC
“Clearly, the two goals in the first half were the result of Tajon getting down the field on the right flank. He was outstanding,” Arena said. “Carles is always going to be Carles. Another very good game by Carles. And I thought Tajon did very well.”
And then there’s Turner, whose diving stop on Nani’s potentially tying penalty kick in the 74th minute, was a massive turning point for the Revs.
Watch: Matt Turner's PK save on Nani
“That helped us a lot,” Bou said through a translator. “It was in the closing minutes, they were down a man and they were pushing. They found an unfortunate play on our end and it got them a penalty kick. Thank God [Turner] read the play and guessed correctly. It was a big relief for us. Like I said, it gave us a lot of strength and calmed us down knowing that the game was still in our favor. The third goal came after that, thank God, and we were able to win the game calmly.”