The New England Revolutions offense continues to struggle in Carles Gil’s absense as they battled the Chicago Fire to a 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
After a somewhat sloppy start to the Revs 2020 home opener, the boys in blue began to gain momentum midway through the first half, eventually leading to newcomer Adam Buksa opening his account to give the Revs the 1-0 lead in the 28th minute. The Revs had a number of opportunities earlier in the half but failed to find the back of the net.
Diego Fagundez wasn’t able to handle a rebound on an Adam Buksa shot that he popped over the goal. Cristian Penilla put a highlight reel, ankle breaking move on Chicago midfielder Djordje Mihailovic, but followed it up with a poor pass to kill the possession for the Revs, and that summed up most of his afternoon.
As the match reached the half hour mark, Brandon Bye sent a pass across that was just in reach of Buksa, and the Polish striker settled the ball beautifully and fired a shot to the back of the net, showing why Bruce Arena and the Revs made him the focal point of this past off-seasons moves.
The defense looked solid for the most part throughout the first half, with Kessler displaying great confidence for a rookie in meeting the Chicago attack to break up plays, or stall the attack until the rest of the Revs defense could come back to assist him. Knighton had a nice diving stop in the 30th minute to keep the Revs up 1-0, and Farrell had a noteworthy play to break up the Chicago attack in the dying minutes for the opening half.
Gustavo Bou sent a soft shot just wide in the 55th minute after a few chippy minutes of back and forth play to open the second half. Twelve minutes later the Revs had a 3 on 2 with Bou, Buksa, and Penilla in the final third, but Bou passed off to Penilla who continued his finishing struggles, and sent the ball into the supporters section behind goal.
The Fire found the equalizer in the 70th minute with a goal from Jonathan Bornstein who was left relatively unmarked despite finding himself between Revs defenders. Buksa nearly found his second on the afternoon in the 76th minute off of a Gustavo Bou corner, but had the shot blocked by a Chicago defender to keep the score knotted at 1-1.
The Revs opted for fresh legs in the 80th minute, subbing in Justin Rennicks and Tajon Buchanan as New Englands first two subs of the day. Rennicks nearly had a game winner in added time, but the Revs weren’t able to break through for a second goal, and ultimately settled for the draw in front of a reported crowd of over 15,000.
A few quick takeaways without much time to reflect on the game. Adam Buksa seems to already be adjusting to the physicality of MLS play and using his size more than in last weeks match. There were a few instances where Chicago defenders tried to body him out of the way and he fought threw to stay in plays. Another newcomers who seems to be quickly gaining the trust of Bruce Arena is Henry Kessler. The Revs have been utilizing the backs in the attack and trusting Farrell and Kessler to pick up he slack on the backline, and they’ve been doing so with relative success considering Kessler is only two games into his professional career. This team has shown promise of what it can be once Carles Gil is back to captain the midfield, but until then their attack is too predictable, and Gustavo Bou being forced to facilitate is preventing him from joining Buksa up top as the consistent scoring threat that we saw last season.