CHESTER, Pa. – Marko Perovic scored his fourth goal in the last five games and goalkeeper Matt Reis made a critical stop late on as the New England Revolution and Philadelphia Union battled to a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon at PPL Park.
The draw extended the Revolution’s (4-9-3, 15 pts.) unbeaten run to five games in all competitions, while it marked the club’s return to league play after running through the group stage of SuperLiga 2010 with three consecutive shutout wins. Philadelphia (4-8-3, 15 pts.) dropped points at its new home for just the second time, as the club is now 2-1-1 at PPL Park.
It was the first-ever meeting between the Revs and Union, which joined MLS as the league’s 16th club this season.
MLS All-Star Sebastien Le Toux gave the Union a halftime lead with one of the goals of the season in the 25th minute, but Perovic leveled the score in the 70th minute when his long-distance free kick took an awkward bounce and settled in the upper corner. Perovic now has six goals in all competitions this season – four in league play and two in SuperLiga – and three have come direct from free kicks.
Veteran defender Cory Gibbs returned to the Revolution lineup for the first time since July 2 after recovering from a left quad strain, slotting into the starting 11 at left back. That meant the central defensive pairing of Darrius Barnes and Emmanuel Osei remained intact following four consecutive shutouts, while MLS All-Star Kevin Alston took his customary position at right back. Hard-working forward Kheli Dube was unavailable after suffering a right MCL sprain earlier in the week, so rookie leading scorer Zack Schilawski started up top alongside Perovic.
Perovic got himself involved early and linked up with left midfielder Chris Tierney to create the game’s first serious scoring chance in the 14th minute. A one-two between Tierney and Perovic through middle finished with Tierney spraying the ball down the right side for Nyassi, but the speedy winger’s low shot across the face of goal went inches wide of the far post.
After a slow start, the Union responded in devastating fashion as Le Toux gave Philadelphia a 1-0 lead with a stunning strike in the 25th minute. Rookie forward Danny Mwanga wrangled for possession with Osei at the top of the box and when the ball popped free, Le Toux stepped into a curling right-footed drive and laced it into the upper right corner. The goal ended the Revolution’s shutout streak at 390 minutes in all competitions.
The Revs had a great chance to equalize before halftime when Alston was fouled by Le Toux just a few yards outside the box in the 41st minute, but Perovic’s curling free kick attempt dipped harmlessly over the bar. Philadelphia responded with a free kick chance of its own in first-half stoppage time, but Reis alertly tipped Le Toux’s 25-yard effort over the bar.
Both teams had a lively start to the second half. Alston blasted a 25-yard drive over the bar in the 51st minute for the Revs, while Union defender Michael Orozco Fiscal worked his way to the endline only to see his low cross through the box elude everybody.
The Revs continued to press for the equalizer and replaced Schilawski with Kenny Mansally in the 61st minute. Just five minutes later, Mansally almost made an immediate impact as his header from Tierney’s left-wing cross was cut out by Union defender Danny Califf.
New England didn’t have to wait long for the game-tying goal to finally arrive, as Perovic was the beneficiary of a strange bounce in the 70th minute. A left-footed free kick from all of 35 yards curled around the wall and hit the ground just in front of Philadelphia goalkeeper Chris Seitz, but instead of taking a normal hop into the goalkeeper’s hands, it sailed into the upper left corner. It wasn’t clear whether the ball struck a divot or if perhaps the spin of the ball caused the awkward bounce.
Each side had a quality chance to claim the full three points in the dying minutes. Perovic nearly won it for the Revolution in the 84th minute, but his shot from just inside the box drifted high and wide as he was put under pressure. Four minutes later, a scramble in the box finished with Le Toux firing from close-range, but Reis made a critical save as he charged off his line to preserve a point for the Revs.
Next up for the Revs is a SuperLiga semifinal against Mexican Primera División club Puebla on Wednesday, Aug. 4. Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 7 p.m. The Revolution returns to league action on Saturday, Aug. 7, against Eastern Conference rival D.C. United.
New England Revolution (4-9-3, 15 pts.) at Philadelphia Union (4-8-3, 15 pts.)
July 31, 2010 – PPL Park (Chester, Pa.)
PHI – Sebastien Le Toux (Danny Mwanga) 25
NE – Marko Perovi? (Unassisted) 70
New England Revolution: Matt Reis (GK), Cory Gibbs, Emmanuel Osei, Darrius Barnes, Kevin Alston, Chris Tierney, Pat Phelan, Shalrie Joseph ©, Sainey Nyassi, Marko Perovi?, Zack Schilawski (Kenny Mansally 61)
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Khano Smith, Joseph Niouky, Seth Sinovic
Philadelphia Union: Chris Seitz, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Danny Califf, Jordan Harvey, Cristian Arrieta, Sebastien Le Toux, Fred (Andrew Jacobson 77), Stefani Miglioranzi, Alejandro Moreno, Danny Mwanga (Justin Mapp 56), Eduard Coudet (Jack McInerney 83)
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton, Nick Zimmerman, Amobi Okugo, Toni Stahl
NE – Shalrie Joseph (caution) 45
PHI – Fred (caution) 60
NE – Marko Perovi? (caution) 85
Referee: Jason Anno
Referee’s Assistants: Thomas Supple, Steven Taylor
Fourth Official: Lee Suckle
Weather: Sunny, 83 degrees
- Saturday’s match was the first-ever meeting between the Revolution and Union … Philadelphia entered MLS in the Eastern Conference this past off-season and became the league’s 16th club
- With the draw, the all-time series between New England and Philly is tied at 0-0-1.
- The draw pushed the Revs’ road record this season to 1-6-1.
- The Revolution is now 8-2-4 against expansion teams since the start of the 2005 season – when MLS began its most-recent (and on-going) wave of expansions … the record also includes a 1-1-0 mark against Chivas USA and 2-0-0 mark against Real Salt Lake in 2005, an 0-0-2 mark against Houston in 2006, 2-0-01 against Toronto FC in 2007, a 1-1-0 mark against San Jose in 2008 and a 2-0-0 mark against Seattle in 2009.
- Today’s match was the team’s second afternoon match of the year … earlier this season, the Revs dropped a 1-0 match at Toronto FC in a contest that kicked off at 1 p.m.
- The draw moves the Revolution’s record in afternoon games to 2-4-2 since the start of the 2008 season and 22-38-12 overall since the club began play in 1996.
- The Revolution’s longest shutout streak of the season ended on Saturday afternoon at 390 minutes when Union scored in the 25th minute … the Revs had not allowed a goal since the 85th minute of the July 2nd match at Real Salt Lake … the shutout streak lasted four full matches in all competitions – one MLS match and three SuperLiga matches.
- Revs goalkeeper Preston Burpo made the trip to Philadelphia with the Revs … he was unavailable for action as he’s on the season-ending injury list after suffering distal tibia and fibula fractures – and undergoing surgery to repair the injury – on May 29 … it was Burpo’s first trip with the team since the accident.
- Pat Phelan, who donned protective headgear for the first time in game action, returned to the starting lineup for the first time in an MLS game since June 27 against Chicago … rookie Jason Griffiths had started the last two league contests before getting injured on July 10 against LA.
- Cory Gibbs returned to the lineup in his first action since July 2nd at Real Salt Lake … he had missed the last four matches with a strained left quad, but returned against Philadelphia to make his first start of the season at left back.
- Revs all-stars Shalrie Joseph and Kevin Alston returned to the Revolution after playing w in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star match against Manchester United … both Joseph and Alston started the match, which the MLS All-Stars lost, 5-2, to the English superpower in Houston.
- Today’s match was Chris Tierney’s eighth start at left midfield this season … he has also seen action at center midfield and left back in MLS matches, as well as right back and center back in non-league contests.
- Marko Perovi? notched his fourth MLS goal with his 71st-minute free kick strike … Perovi? has now found the back of the net four times in the last five games of all competitions.
- Marko Perovi? now has a five-match point streak in all competitions (four goals, assist).
- Shalrie Joseph picked up his second caution of 2010 when he was booked in the 45th minute for a reckless tackle.
- The Revs scored their first goal on the road since May 8 in a 3-2 loss at Columbus … the club went three full road games without finding the back of the net before Perovi?’s 71st-minute goal.
- The Revolution conceded the first goal of a match for the 10th time in 16 matches this season … New England let up the first goal for the sixth time on the road, but battled back to improve its road record to 0-5-1 when scored upon first.
- Head coach Steve Nicol utilized one substitute for only the second time this season (May 8 at Columbus).
- New England and Philadelphia played to the first ever draw at PPL Park.