The Revolution have picked up where they left off before the MLS season was suspended in March. The Revolution opened the scoring in their first two games, a loss and a tie, four months ago. And they have done so in two games, a win and a tie, in the MLS is Back tournament at the Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla.
But by squandering the lead in a 1-1 tie with D.C. United Friday night, the Revolution (1-1-2, 5 points) blew a chance to clinch a place in the first round of elimination tournament, scheduled to start next week. The Revolution lead Group C with 4 points, tied with Toronto FC, their opponent Tuesday morning. United (1-1-2, 5 points) is in third place in the group and concludes play against last-place Montreal.
This time, Adam Buksa gave the Revolution the edge, before United substitute Federico Higuain equalized off a back pass in the 72d minute. Buksa, who converted his first MLS goal as the Revolution and the Chicago Fire tied, 1-1, March 7, scored in the 51st minute. Cristian Penilla’s shot was deflected by Oniel Fisher, blooping near the penalty spot, Buksa going up to head into the left side of the net past a diving Bill Hamid.
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) July 18, 2020
The Revolution had a chance to increase their edge as Penilla and Gustavo Bou went on a two-on-one breakaway, but Penilla’s shot was tipped away by Hamid (61st).
The Revolution appeared in control for most of the contest. But things changed after Revolution captain Carles Gil departed and Higuain entered in the 62d minute. Diego Fagundez replaced Gil, who is still recovering from a foot injury, and was playing his second game eight months.
Higuain, who replaced Edison Flores, scored after easily evading Matt Turner, following an interception of an Antonio Delamea back pass.
Bou had a chance to break the deadlock, but left-footed a volley high off a Buksa header (81st).
“I’m very disappointed in the result,” Revolution sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena said. “We had a 1-zero lead, controlling the game, created some other chances. Our opponent really didn’t create any chances on the night. Their goal, we use the expression, was a gift. Give them some credit, they stepped up the pressure. But we gave the game away.”
Other takeaways from Friday night’s game:
▪ Delamea’s error proved costly, leaving Turner stranded against Higuain. In the tournament opener, Turner parried a 96th-minute shot as the Revolution edged Montreal, 1-0. Those plays highlight the small margin for error, due partly to the Revolution missing on several scoring opportunities. The Revolution kept D.C. United on the defensive for most of the match. In the first half, the Revolution nearly broke through as Kelyn Rowe slammed a shot off the top of the bar (25th minute) and Bou’s 25-yarder was pushed out for a corner (42d) by Hamid. The Revolution earned three more corners off that sequence, concluding with a Bou half volley that sailed high. Bou appeared to be lining things up for a dramatic finish, and once again was in position to decide the contest. This time, he misfired off a Buksa layoff. In his first 17 games with the Revolution, Bou converted five times from the 86th-minute on and has had four second-half deciding goals, including one against the Impact July 9.