FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Carles Gil and Gustavo Bou combined on a breathtaking goal to give the New England Revolution a 1-0 lead over Orlando City SC on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium, the 11th time in 15 games this season that the Revs have scored first. But the visitors hit back shortly thereafter and the sides finished all square at 1-1, the sixth time in those 11 games that the Revs have failed to turn the opening goal into three points.
That’s a trend that has been particularly prevalent in recent weeks as the Revs are unbeaten in their last seven league games (3-0-4), but have held and conceded leads in all four of those draws. It’s something they’ll be looking to tighten up as they close out a three-game week on Sunday evening against visiting Minnesota United FC at Gillette Stadium.
“It’s obviously good and bad, right?” said Jozy Altidore, a halftime substitute on Wednesday. “You start the game winning the game. That’s good. You put the team on their heels. But then giving up goals, I think you have to look at how you’re giving up the goals. I think tonight, look, it’s a good goal on their part, but if you look at the play as a whole, I think we’ll be disappointed. It’s a second ball, a recycled ball, he fires one in there from the top of the six.
“It’s a little frustrating, but like I said earlier, we get points. I think a game like this, maybe we lose four or five weeks ago, you know? So we have to look at the positives, and we’re moving in the right direction. Sunday’s another big opportunity to take three points.”
Wednesday night presented several challenges for the Revs, not the least of which was a three-day turnaround following a grueling 90 minutes in the scorching Kansas City heat this past Sunday. Nine players who started that game on Sunday were in the starting XI on Wednesday, and sporting director and head coach Bruce Arena said that was a factor against an Orlando City side that hadn’t played a competitive match in two-and-a-half weeks.
“Remember, we had a little bit of a disadvantage coming into the game having played Sunday in Kansas City under those conditions,” said Arena. “So we were a little heavy-legged tonight, for sure.”
One of the two changes to the starting lineup was in central defense as Jon Bell partnered Andrew Farrell on the backline, his first start since mid-March after returning from injury with a pair of substitute appearances in recent weeks. Bell said he “just had to be patient” as he worked his way back to full fitness, and he was thrilled to get the opportunity on Wednesday night.
As for the performance, Bell said he saw plenty of positives and negatives both on an individual level and within the group as their record at Gillette Stadium moved to 3-2-3.
“I think we were a little bit rusty moving forward, connecting passes, finishing the last play of the game,” said Bell. “But overall I thought it was a hard-fought match. We were able to keep them down to one goal, which is always good, especially at home.”