NOTE: This story was written based on an EA SPORTS FIFA 20 simulation of the New England Revolution at Real Salt Lake match originally scheduled for Saturday, March 21. It includes made-up quotes, and recounts events that occurred exclusively in FIFA 20. You can watch the full highlights HERE.
SALT FAKE CITY – Another remarkable comeback appeared to be on the cards for the New England Revolution on Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium, but ultimately the visitors suffered a hard-luck 3-2 loss to Real Salt Lake, as simulated by FIFA 20.
Just six days after erasing a two-goal deficit in stoppage time to secure a wild 4-4 draw with the Portland Timbers, the Revs again dug themselves out of a hole, climbing back from 2-0 down inside 15 minutes to go into halftime 2-2 thanks to goals from Adam Buksa and Teal Bunbury.
But a bout of bad luck struck the Revs shortly after the break as rookie center back Henry Kessler’s virtual counterpart scored an unfortunate own goal, which proved to be the winner for RSL.
“We didn’t seem ready from the opening whistle – almost like somebody hadn’t pushed the ‘ON’ button yet,” head coach Bruce Arena probably would’ve said if this wasn’t all fake. “But I’m really proud of the group for the way we responded to get level before halftime. We’ve got a lot of grit.
“As for the own goal, it’s just unfortunate. It’s like sometimes when you’re playing FIFA and you’re screaming at your guy not to slide, and you’re hitting the buttons to do everything but slide, but then he slides anyway. That’s kind of what that play felt like.”
New England had two big chances in the second half – one before the own goal, and one after – but both Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil saw their shots denied at the near post, which almost seemed unrealistic because both of those guys are really good at soccer.
In terms of positives, Bunbury scored his third goal of the season (one in real life, two in FIFA), while Buksa upped his team-leading total to four goals (one in real life, three in FIFA), as he continues to adjust to his new life in MLS at a remarkable pace.
“I’m happy to score, and I’ve really enjoyed my first four games in MLS, even if two of them didn’t actually happen,” Buksa didn’t say. “MLS is totally different than what I’m used to with all the travel. I’d heard the altitude can be a problem in Utah, but I honestly didn’t notice it at all.”
Saturday night’s result leaves the Revs still in search of their first win of 2020, and they’ll now head into a bye week before their next simulated match against the Colorado Rapids on April 4, which begins a stretch of three home games in eight days.
With two weeks to prepare, the Revs know exactly how to get themselves ready.
“We’re going to call some old friends and stay in touch with our families,” all of the players said in unison. “We might buy some gift cards to help local businesses, and pick up some takeout when possible. Also, we’ll work out safely in the comfort of our own homes.
“If we do all that, we’ll be ready to go before you know it.”