Come-from-behind draw in Chicago leaves Friedel, Revolution with mixed emotions

Teal Bunbury goal celebration vs. Chicago Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – New England Revolution head coach Brad Friedel once again had mixed emotions following Saturday night’s hard-fought 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire.

Friedel was pleased with his side’s determination as they found a late equalizer through Teal Bunbury – his ninth goal in the last 12 games – but he was left feeling a bit like the Revs had dropped two points after they failed to capitalize on a series of quality chances in the second half.

It was a similar sentiment to two weeks ago when the Revs took home a point from a 3-3 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC having seen leads of 2-0 and 3-2 slip away.

“I thought we had a lot of domination in the second half,” Friedel said of Saturday night’s performance at Toyota Park. “I thought we created a lot of opportunities in the second half – a lot of good opportunities. I thought we were a little bit unlucky that we didn’t score two or three in that second half.

“So I’m a little bit disappointed that we didn’t come away with all three points, but the boys showed a lot of character to claw back to 1-1.”

It was the fourth time this season – and the third time in the last 11 days – that the Revs have secured at least a point after conceding the first goal, and once again it was Bunbury on hand to provide the finishing touch after Diego Fagundez’s perseverance forced an error from Fire goalkeeper Richard Sanchez.

“It was all him,” Bunbury said of Fagundez’s effort on the game-tying assist. “He’s probably one of the smaller guys on the field and he’s going up, battling. That just shows the commitment all our guys have throughout the whole game.”

That commitment has manifested itself in a much-improved road record this season (1-2-3, 6 pts.), as the Revs already have as many road points in 2018 as they did in all of 2017, buoyed by the fact that they’ve picked up points in four of their last five road games since late March.

According to center back Antonio Delamea those results are all about the Revolution’s character and conviction, as they’ve set out to improve their attitude away from home under Friedel.

“We’ve talked a lot about changing the road mentality in the past few weeks,” Delamea said. “I think we’ve shown a big improvement outside tonight. We just need to keep this mentality, keep this aggression, and build on this game.”

New England will need that road mentality to carry them through the next few days as they’ll head straight to the West Coast on Sunday to prepare for Wednesday night’s meeting with the San Jose Earthquakes, their final match before a two-and-a-half week break during the group stage of the FIFA World Cup.

“We’re going in there with the mindset that we want to get three points,” said Bunbury. “After that, we’re going to have a nice little break, so if we can get three points, it’s going to be huge for us.”