Despite jumping out to an early lead thanks to Teal Bunbury, the New England Revolution will return home from Montreal without any points as they dropped their season opener on Saturday afternoon in a 2-1 loss at Olympic Stadium.
Bunbury started things off in the 13th minute when he fired a beautifully curled cross from Cristian Penilla into the back of the net past a diving Clement Diop to score the Revs first goal of the 2020 season.
The Revs looked good on a number of set pieces in the attacking end, with Buksa almost heading home a corner kick, but it was a corner kick at the other end that resulted in the sides being level at the half. In the 37th minute DeJuan Jones failed to mark his man on a Montreal corner and Romell Quioto tucked a ball to the far post for the equalizer.
Bruce Arena brought in Wilfred Zahibo for Scott Caldwell to open the second half, opting to get a bit more defensive as the Impact held the majority of possession in the opening half, and continued to do that early in the second half.
Bunbury and Gustavo Bou almost linked up on a break away early in the second half but a bit of miscommunication looked like it led to Teal not getting the pass out in space for Bou, but “La Pantera” was still able to get a shot to the keeper. Adam Buksa had another good opportunity in the second half but saw the ball sail just wide of the Montreal keeper. Buksa seemed to get more comfortable as the game went on, but the physicality of MLS play may have been more than he was expecting in the early going.
Montreal almost took the lead when Jones was beat again, and Kessler was a bit late tracking his man back. Turner was able to make the save, all the while giving Revs fans a scare as he went down grabbing at his leg in what looked like a case of his leg not pivoting on the very poor surface that the game was played on.
Wilfred Zahibo thought he had the go ahead goal in the 73rd minute, but the VAR showed that he was just a touch offside when Brandon Bye played a header forward to him in the attacking area. Seven short minutes later Maximiliano Urruti put Montreal up 2-1 when he chipped a ball over an Matt Turner who was caught forward for a rare miscue by the Revs keeper.
Tajon Buchanan came on as the final substitute in the 81st minute to replace Jones, who had just misplayed a ball in the attacking third to cap a less than stellar afternoon for the second year player. Buchanan nearly leveled the score in the 86th minute as Bye sent a perfectly placed ball to the post but found the woodwork rather than his first professional goal.
Kessler had a few nice plays in the final minutes to keep the score respectable with a great slide tackle to stop a breakaway in what could have very well been a red card had he missed his mark. The rookie followed that up with another nice defensive play down the wing to stop a Montreal push into the last third of the field.
The Revs made two final pushes in stoppage time with a long pass from Bou that Penilla poked on goal, and moments later the Revs had a frantic possession that saw Diego Fagundez fail to fire a shot on goal in what would prove to be the final chance for the Revs.
The Revs showed short glimpses of what we can expect from the season, and Kessler played a pretty good game to start his professional career. Buksa looks like he needs to get a bit more adjusted to MLS play, but did have a few opportunities that you would like to see him finish in the future. Overall a disappointing result to start the season, but Carles Gil (Foot), Luis Caicedo (Knee), Antonio Delamea (Hamstring), and Seth Sinovic (Hamstring) were all out of the lineup dealing with injuries. Once everyone is healthy and head coach Bruce Arena has a full squad to work with I expect much better results.