New England Revolution

Revolution come back, wrap up preseason with a victory over Orlando City

The Revs begin their regular season on Saturday Feb. 25 in Charlotte.

Giacomo Vrioni pumps his fist after scoring a goal for the revolution
Revs striker Giacomo Vrioni gestures towards his bench following a goal. New England Revolution

After falling behind 1-0 early in their match with Orlando City on Saturday, the New England Revolution battled back in the second half to win their final preseason game.

The Revs went 2-2 in their preseason slate this year, but they finished with a -4 goal differential thanks to a 4-0 defeat they suffered on Feb. 14 against Cincinnati. 

Orlando got the scoring going early in Saturday’s contest. In the 17th minute, Michael Halliday sent a shot towards goalkeeper Djordje Petrović who slowed the ball but didn’t fully stop it. Ivan Angulo then outran defender Brandon Bye on the far side to get to the ball and drive it home. 


The Revolution defense tightened from there however, refusing to concede another goal.

In the second half, following the substitution of striker Bobby Wood for Giacomo Vrioni, New England’s attack began to heat up. 

With 20 minutes remaining, the Revolution finally broke their silence via a header from Vrioni. Twelve minutes later it was once again Vrioni who fueled a goal for his squad, forcing an own goal to give New England a 2-1 lead.

After the game, Revs midfielder Noel Buck talked about the importance of Vrioni, who is entering his first full season with the team.

“It’s brilliant that he scored a goal,” Buck said. “I think he deserves it. He’s a great guy on and off the field. He can do that all year, and we know he can do that, and hopefully this is one goal of many.”

Aside from giving the team a little confidence boost, the match with Orlando also gave the best view at who may be in the starting XI come opening day on Feb. 25.

Five players — Bye, Petrović, Henry Kessler, Dave Romney, and Carles Gil –played the full 90 minutes. Jack Panayotou, Noel Buck, Justin Rennicks, Damian Rivera, and Wood each played a full half, with Panayotou, Rivera, and Wood starting for the Revolution.


So far this preseason, Petrović has started every game in goal and is expected to be the team’s starter this season after being voted the team’s MVP last year. The players getting the most consistent minutes in the field are defenders Bye, Kessler, and Romney, midfielders Gil, Panayotou, Latif Blessing, and Matt Polster, and forward Dylan Borrero. 

The striker spot has seen the most change throughout this preseason as head coach Bruce Arena has started Wood and Jozy Altidore there so far but has also gotten impressive performances from Vrioni off the bench.

With Wood continuing to recover from injury, and the 33-year-old Altidore not finding the back of the net throughout the preseason, it’s quite possible Arena elects to go with Vrioni for the season opener.

The Revolution’s first regular season game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday Feb. 25 in Charlotte against Charlotte FC. That game will be free to watch with an Apple TV subscription, but all others will require the Apple TV MLS Season Pass to watch. The team’s first home game at Gillette Stadium will take place on March 4 against Houston.


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