KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Friday night’s 1-1 draw with D.C. United put the New England Revolution in strong position to advance to the knockout rounds of the MLS is Back Tournament, now with four points and tied with Toronto FC atop Group C after two games.
But that didn’t stop them from being disappointed with their performance against D.C., as the Revs scored first only to let the lead slip away for the third time in four regular-season games in 2020.
“We had a 1-0 lead. We were controlling the game,” head coach Bruce Arena said. “We created some other chances; our opponent didn’t really create any chances on the night. Their goal was – we use an expression in the sport – it was a gift.
“You’ve got to give them some credit. They stepped up and pressured us and we gave the ball away, but you still have to finish the play. We gave the game away.”
Adam Buksa’s second goal in a Revolution jersey, scored with a well-placed header in the 51st minute, had the Revs firmly in the driver’s seat heading into the closing stages. And while it’s true that D.C.’s goal was the result of an error as Antonio Delamea’s back-pass to Matt Turner was left short and picked off by Federico Higuain, the Revs also missed out on several other opportunities to claim the three points.
Kelyn Rowe clipped the crossbar with a rasping first-half drive, Cristian Penilla saw his 1-v-1 effort spectacularly saved in the 61st minute, and Gustavo Bou blasted a late effort high after fantastic buildup play through Buksa and Brandon Bye. From 37 combined shots in their first two games of the MLS is Back Tournament, the Revs have generated just a pair of goals.
“It’s disappointing,” said Arena. “You know, soccer is a low-scoring sport. We have a tendency of not finishing well. That’s been a characteristic of our team in the two games here in Orlando, and I’d probably say that was a bit of the case in our first two games of the regular season against Montreal and Chicago, so we need to do better there.”
That will be the focus as the Revs prepare for their final group-stage match against TFC, set for the unique kickoff time of 9 a.m. ET on Tuesday morning. A win in that match would see the Revs take top spot in Group C, so they’ll be highly-motivated to get the job done on short rest.
“We need to be honest with each other, and I think it wasn’t our best performance today,” said Buksa. “It doesn’t really matter who scores goals, who makes mistakes – we are a team and we take responsibility as a team for the result.
“I’m sure our plan was to win the game today. We didn’t achieve that, so that’s disappointing, but we need to accept the point and move forward to the next game against Toronto.”