A trio of New England Revolution representatives helped guide the East to a dramatic 2-1 victory in Wednesday afternoon's MLS NEXT All-Star Game, as Esmir Bajraktarevic and Jack Panayotou each played 45 minutes and Director of Youth Development Rob Becerra served as an assistant coach.
Panayotou, whose tournament-best six goals led the Revolution Under-19 team to an MLS NEXT Cup championship just last month, was the headliner as he served up the game-winning assist in the 89th minute, receiving a pass into the right side of the box before playing a perfect ball across the face of goal. The winner, scored by Philadelphia Union forward Marcos Zambrano-Delgado, capped a late comeback as the East had pulled level with an 86th-minute penalty kick.
Bajraktarevic started the match and was active throughout the first half, building on his performance in this past weekend's Revolution II meeting with Inter Miami II, when he helped set up two goals. The 17-year-old signed a first team contract with the Revolution back on May 23 and debuted in the U.S. Open Cup game against New York City FC just two days later, but only officially became eligible to compete in MLS competition this month.
Panayotou and Bajraktarevic both recently participated in a camp with the U.S. Under-19 Men's Youth National Team - alongside fellow Academy product Noel Buck - and Panayotou will now begin his college career at Georgetown University while Bajraktarevic returns to New England ahead of important stretch runs for both the Revolution and Revolution II.