FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution squad were full of praise for penalty hero Andrew Farrell after Thursday night’s dramatic Leagues Cup shootout victory over Atlas FC.
In the club’s 1,000th competitive game, the Revolution produced an incredible comeback to book a place in the Round of 16, battling back from an early two-goal deficit, thanks to Gustavo Bou’s brace, before edging a thrilling spot-kick shootout.
With both teams converting their first seven penalties, Farrell had the chance to secure progression after Javier Abella had struck the crossbar, and converted coolly to spark jubilant scenes at Gillette Stadium.
It was a special moment for the club’s all-time record appearance maker (especially after seeing a stunning last-gasp equalizer harshly ruled out against the New York Red Bulls in the MLS regular season a matter of weeks ago), and the center back was delighted to have produced such a crucial contribution, earning deserved acclaim from his teammates.
“It feels good just to be able to help the team advance,” he smiled. “We’re all pumped to hopefully move through.
“[The last penalty I took] competitively was probably in college! I didn't think it was going to come down to me, so I'm glad that I was able to put it away. I’m obviously excited to help the team advance.
“It was a little more pressure because everyone kept scoring their penalties. It was coming down to the last couple of guys, and I knew I was going to have to take one. When the guy missed it, I was like: ‘Oh, we got this.’”
Speaking after the game, captain Carles Gil, midfielder Noel Buck and goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr. expressed their delight for Farrell, highlighting the defender as a popular and positive character in the dressing room.
“It had to be him!” Edwards Jr. grinned. “He’s just Mr. Revs! It was really cool to see him step up and finish it for us.”
Buck agreed: “It was great. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy. He’s always a leader in the locker room, he’s a funny guy – he always makes everyone laugh, and it was great to see him put away that penalty.”
Gil added: “If you say to everyone: ‘Who do you want to take the last penalty?’ 99% of the team would say Andrew.
“We love him, he deserved that. He’s done very good penalties in training, and he showed it.”
Trailing 2-0 inside the opening 11 minutes with Mateo García and Jordy Caicedo on the scoresheet for Atlas, New England rallied to claw themselves back into the contest.
Bou swept home at the back post on the half-hour to ignite the comeback, and then levelled with just over 10 minutes of normal time remaining. After Giacomo Vrioni had been upended by Anderson Santamaría (who was dismissed in injury time for a second yellow card), Bou saw his penalty initially saved but converted the rebound to send the game to a shootout.
Reflecting on the clash, Farrell was also proud of the character and spirit shown by the Revs to fight back and once again find a way to win.
“It wasn’t our best game – we were down two goals early – and I’m proud of the guys for fighting back,” the defender said.
“It’s a really good team. It was a rough game, a crazy game, but I’m happy for the resilience of this group this whole week.
“We’ve done it all year. Obviously, it was not a great start – and we’ve had a couple of those this year – but we just kept in the game. They were up 2-0 so they were pretty confident in their play, and we started chipping away at their goal, chipping away at what we wanted to get to.
“We're all pumped to hopefully move through, and obviously going down 2-0, we were just like: ‘Next play, next play, stay in the game.’ We trusted each other, and trusted our team – we’re a really good team, and we haven't lost at home yet (obviously we didn’t want to do that).
“Gustavo ended up scoring two in the game – a pen and the goal he scored – and then Earl came up big in the game (he saved me a couple of times), saved us, and then the other guys made plays, and we try to move on.
“I think Earl did well – he's really good playing out from the back, so he was comfortable with how we wanted to play. Late in the game, he was very key, and made some big saves. It was huge because I told him I’d give him some of my bonus money if he saved a PK if we won, so I'm going to have to give it to him because he saved me in the game!
“He did well stepping in, in a tough spot – his distribution was great, he made some good saves and now we move on.
“This year, we've had some bad injuries to key guys, so I think the resilience is something that we've carried throughout. It's something that we’ve had from different moments in different games, in different parts of the season.
“But this one's a big one. Obviously with everything going on this week, it's been a rough week for a lot of guys, and a lot of it is kind of bigger than soccer – a lot of things going on with Brad [Knighton], who is a guy who is someone very important to us.
“So, it was a rough week, and I'm just proud of the guys who are coming in, and putting in the work throughout the week. Advancing is the most important thing – no matter how things go, you’ve got to stay together and keep fighting.
“I’m obviously excited to be able to contribute. Everyone took great pens. Earl almost had two [saves], and I’m sure he actually throws off the guy that makes it go over the bar; then I was able to step up and put the ball in the net.
“Advancing is important and we have another home game [against Querétaro in the last 16 on Monday] so we’re excited for that.”