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Revolution 1, Union 1: Late equalizer spoils Revs’ first home game under Bruce Arena

Revs can’t find answers for Philadelphia's second half substitutions.

MLS: Philadelphia Union at New England Revolution Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution resumed MLS league play on Wednesday night playing host to the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia Union. A first-half goal by Brandon Bye was matched by Kacper Pyzybylko, as both team’s shared the spoils.

The Revs came into the match after a disappointing loss last week that eliminated them from the US Open Cup in the 5th round, while the Union have been idle since their 4th round US Open Cup loss to DC United on June 12th.

The first half saw some back and forth chippy play, starting off with a yellow card in the 11th minute to midfielder Brendan Aaronson of the Union. Philly took another yellow card in the 28th minute on a hard foul by Auston Trusty who lowered a shoulder on Juan Agudelo. Carles Gil (failure to retreat) and Haris Medunjanin (foul) also received first-half yellow cards.

Both teams failed to capitalize on scoring chances in the first 25 minutes, with Penilla sending an aggressive cross just out of reach of Teal Bunbury, and Philadelphia having a few decent scoring chances flagged for offside. Bye put a solid low cross just out of reach of Teal Bunbury in the 25th minute, followed up by a Sergio Santos shot for the Union that went just left of the goal.

The Revs showed great buildup just before the 30 minute mark seeing Gil with a pass across the middle of the field that Bunbury let through to Agudelo, who put a hard shot just to the left of the goal.

Moments later Gil caught the Union sleeping when he sent a corner kick to the near post to connect with a charging Brandon Bye. Bye tapped it to the top right corner to put the hosts on top 1-0 in the 31st minute.

Philly opened the second half with Ilsinho in for Aaronson, and looked much more threatening on the ball in the early going. Both teams continued to rack up yellow cards with Bunbury booked in the 61st, and Kai Wagner of the Union in the 65th.

Penilla was subbed off in the 67th minute for Juan Fernando Caicedo, who slotted up top, moving Bunbury out wide. The adjustment was made to contain Ilsinho, who facilitated a number of nice offensive attacks since entering the game.

Second half substitute Fafa Picault showed his speed when he flew through the defense in the 84th minute and put a cross in front that would have been an own goal by Farrell if not for Pyzybylko getting a foot on it. It was an equalizer that felt inevitable due to Philly’s aggressive play.

A late substitution of Diego Fagundez in for Wilfred Zahibo failed to ignite the Revs offense in the final minutes as the game came to a close at a 1-1 draw.

Coming into this game one would think the Revs would be content with a draw against a top of the table team, but it’s a gut shot to give up the equalizer late after a good showing for much of the game. The Revs appeared in control in the first half, but the second half substitutions by Philadelphia of Ilsinho and Picault were ultimately too much to hang on to the clean sheet.

Despite failing to hold off the Union for a win, New England are still unbeaten in league play since replacing former head coach Brad Friedel on May 9th, and continue to show promise with each match.

The Revs will look to take advantage of a quick turn around on Saturday night as they host the Houston Dynamo. That game will kickoff at 7:30PM at Gillette.