ORLANDO, Fla. – The New England Revolution dropped the opening match of the inaugural Orlando City Invitational, 1-0, to Minnesota United FC at Orlando City Stadium on Saturday evening. Minnesota's Miguel Ibarra scored the game's lone goal in the 65th minute, when he forced a turnover and finished with his right foot.
A scoreless first half featured a handful of scoring chances from each side, including a pair of shots from Justin Rennicks and Brandon Bye in the 20th and 23rd minutes, respectively, that forced saves from Minnesota goalkeeper Vito Mannone. Minnesota generated its best scoring chance in the 39th minute, but Brad Knighton made a fingertip save at the near post to keep the Loons off the board.
On the other side of halftime, Cristian Penilla nearly put New England up with a right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area that forced a save from Bobby Shuttleworth. Moments later, Minnesota's Miguel Ibarra intercepted a pass from Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton and slotted a right-footed shot into the net that put the Loons ahead, 1-0. Homegrown Player Nicolas Firmino nearly found an equalizer in the 77th minute, when he got his right foot on a rebound in the penalty area, but Shuttleworth was positioned well to make a save.
New England returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 20, when it returns faces Orlando City SC in its second and final match of the Orlando City Invitational. The Revs will then wrap up their preseason slate against Icelandic side KR Reykjavik at IMG Academy in Bradenton on Saturday, Feb. 23.
New England Revolution 0, Minnesota United FC 1
February 16, 2019 – Orlando City Stadium (Orlando, Fla.)
MIN – Miguel Ibarra (Unassisted) 65'
NE – Juan Fernando Caicedo (Yellow Card) 38'
MIN – Osvaldo Alonso (Yellow Card) 68'
New England Revolution: Brad Knighton, Brandon Bye, Antonio Delamea (Trailist 73'), Michael Mancienne © (Jalil Anibaba 73'), Edgar Castillo, Wilfried Zahibo (Luis Caicedo 53'), Scott Caldwell (Nicolas Firmino 73'), Cristian Penilla (Tajon Buchanan 81'), Justin Rennicks (DeJuan Jones 73'), Juan Agudelo (Diego Fagundez 57'), Juan Fernando Caicedo (Teal Bunbury 57')
Minnesota United FC: Vito Mannone (Bobby Shuttleworth 63'), Ike Opara, Francisco Calvo ©, Michael Boxall (Brent Kallman 63'), Romain Metanire, Osvaldo Alonso, Jan Gregus, Miguel Ibarra, Rasmus Schuller, Romario Ibarra (Mason Toye 67'), Darwin Quintero
Minnesota United FC (73rd minute): Bobby Shuttleworth, Eric Miller, Wyatt Omsberg, Brent Kallman, Chase Gasper, Jiro, Hassani Dotson, Ethan Finlay, Collin Martin, Conner, Mason Toye
New England Revolution Head Coach Brad Friedel
On his overall thoughts on the match against Minnesota United FC:
Coach Friedel: “ We got more minutes for some players. I thought we created some good chances. Didn't struggle. A little bit sloppy in the center of the field at the start of the second half, but all in all, not bad. A lot of good signs and some rusty signs as well. Unfortunate goal to concede, but if you're going to concede a goal like that, do it in preseason. Brad [Knighton] is experienced enough to be able to deal with that. Quite pleased that Brandon Bye and Edgar Castillo got 90 minutes, which is really important. Cristian Penilla [got] 80 minutes, and a few others in the 60 and 70 minute range, so we're starting to get there."
On the back line's play in tonight's match:
Coach Friedel: “I thought we were fairly solid. The only problems that they caused us as at all were when we rushed the ball in the midfield. I think Brad had one save – a good save – on a counter attack in the first half. I can't think of too many others. Like I said, it was just an individual error on the goal, and those things can happen. I guess if they're going to happen, happen to one of the most experienced players in the squad, so that's a good thing because I know he can overcome it easily."
On the play of Justin Rennicks and Nicolas Firmino:
Coach Friedel: “Big learning experience for them. We want them to develop as quickly as they can, so we're going to give them a lot of chances to do that."
On what he's looking for out of the group going forward in preseason:
Coach Friedel: "It's preseason. Again, fitness. Match fitness. Fingers crossed players don't get injured in the games and hope we can win the next game, of course. But there's a lot of different elements to preseason."
New England Revolution Midfielder Scott Caldwell
On his overall thoughts on the match:
Caldwell: “We're not happy losing any games, even if it's preseason, so there's definitely things we have to work on on both sides of the ball. We'll review it. Just looking at it, I think we got to find the forwards going forward more to create more chances. Overall, it wasn't bad, but we got to get results. We got to get into that habit, and it starts now."
On the back line's performance:
Caldwell: “They were shifting well. They were in solid spots. It's something to build on, for sure."
On building up to 90-minute fitness as preseason progresses:
Caldwell: “I think that was another positive takeaway. I think we did a great job getting fitness. Maybe making more runs than normal in certain areas of the field, and I think that's a good thing to take away from it."
New England Revolution Defender Brandon Bye
On his thoughts on the match:
Bye: “I thought we can take a couple of things out of it. We didn't get the win today and that's important, obviously. But getting familiar with the guys again, just looking forward to the first game of the season – we're taking steps forward."
On building toward 90-minute fitness:
Bye: “I feel all right. You're going to be tired in preseason and we're working harder than usual, but I feel all right. Not too bad."
On developing chemistry along the back line:
Bye: “I feel like we're feeling it out throughout the preseason. We have more games to come, but for today's performance, I think we were fine."