Bruce Arena and the New England Revolution kicked off their 2022 campaign as they traveled out to the west coast for the first time since September of 2019 asand ended up drawing 2-2 with the Portland Timbers.
Major storylines heading into the match were defender Henry Kessler did not make the trek to Portland as he continues to recover from an undisclosed injury.
There was also uncertainty about reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Matt Turner, as it was reported by Tom Quinlan of WPRO that the Revs goalkeeper is still recovering from an undisclosed injury sustained during February’s USMNT qualifier against Honduras.
From my understanding, Matt Turner's foot injury is minor. #NERevs— Seth (@SethMan31) February 27, 2022
The Revolution were also missing some of their younger players, as Noel Buck, Damian Rivera, and Edward Kizza featured in Revolution II’s closed-door scrimmage against Hartford Athletic Saturday afternoon.
There were no surprises up top as Adam Buksa and Gustavo Bou looked to build upon a successful 2021 campaign that saw the duo net 31 goals. Newcomer Sebastian Lletget started in the midfield alongside Matt Polster, Tommy McNamara, and reigning MLS MVP Carles Gil.
Omar Gonzales filled in for an injured Henry Kessler on the backline joined alongside DeJuan Jones, Andrew Farrell, and Brandon Bye. Earl Edwards Jr. made his first start for the Revolution, his first start in MLS since starting in net for Orlando’s 3-3 draw ironically against the Revs on August 4th, 2018.
The Revs offense wasted no time getting started as Lletget won the Revs an offensive half free kick after being fouled in the 1st minute. Bou won the Revs a corner kick early after his long-distance shot took a deflection off a Portland defender. Gil’s corner kick found La Pantera inside the box as Bou sent a shot on goal, but had it saved by Aljaž Ivačič.
Portland also looked to get their offense rolling early as Santiago Moreno maneuvered into the box. Moreno pulled back and attempted a shot, but Edwards denied it. Portland’s offense looked to regroup on the deflected ball, but their shot trailed wide right of goal as Farrell cleared the ball away from goal.
Jones looked to find Adam Buksa inside Portland’s box in the 14th minute as he sent a cross towards the Polish striker. Portland’s defense reacted just in time as they cleared the ball out for a corner.
Claudio Bravo came up big for Portland’s defense in the 15th minute as he was able to clear a floating ball as it plummeted down toward Bou, who was winding up to unleash a rocket on Portland’s net.
Portland’s José Van Rankin received a yellow card in the 22nd minute for holding Gil back from advancing downfield. Dairon Asprilla also received a yellow card just seven minutes later after kicking the ball into the air after head referee Chris Penso awarded the Revolution a goal kick.
Jones looked to get the Revs on the board in the 40th minute as he fizzed a low cross across the box. Unfortunately for Jones, no one got on the end of it inside the box as Bye recovered it on the opposite side of the pitch.
Bye became the Revs first goal scorer of 2022 in the 41st minute after leaping into the air and heading a Gil corner kick off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net. It was a good opening 45 minutes for the Revolution as they found the opening goal while maintaining defensive pressure on the Timbers.
Asprilla looked to get things rolling in the 47th minute as he got a clear shot on net. Edwards stepped up big as he denied Asprilla on the shot and the rebound following the save.
But Asprilla tied it up for Portland in the 60th minute after Moreno flicked the ball in between González and Jones to a darting Asprilla, who found himself wide open inside the box, and slotted the ball past Edwards into the net.
The Revolution bounced back quickly as Jones would find an open Lletget to his right. Lletget received Jones’s pass and sent a shot to the right side of the net past the reach of Ivačič and into the back of the net to open his Revolution scoring account in the 64th minute.
The crowd in Providence Park roared back when Yimmy Chara found the back of the net in the 69th minute after breaking clear of the Revs backline and driving down the pitch. Excitement quickly faded as the assistant referee raised his flag for offsides.
Tommy McNamara received the Revs first booking after taking down Diego Chara in the 70th minute.
Jaroslaw Niezgoda looked to tie the game in the 72nd minute as he dove low to head the ball towards the Revs net. Niezgoda had too much on it as the diving header sailed over the crossbar for a Revs goal kick.
Edwards Jr. made his third save in the 74th minute as Farrell cleared the rebounded shot from Portland off his right leg and out for a Portland corner.
The Revs made their first substitution of the night as Maciel came in for Tommy McNamara.
Things took a tragic turn for the worse for the Revs in the 78th minute after the ball pinballed into the air off Bye and Farrell as it fell to an unmarked Yimmy Chara, who winded up and hit a jaw-dropping bicycle kick past Edwards.
Two more substitutions came for the Revs in the 79th minute as Jozy Altidore made his Revolution debut as he and Wilfried Kaptoum replaced Bou and Lletget.
Bravo received the final booking after picking up a yellow card in the 84th minute after kicking the ball away after committing a foul.
Jones came in clutch for the Revs defense in the 85th minute as he kept pace with Yimmy Chara to prevent Chara from getting on to the end of a dangerous ball sent forward by Portland
Buksa came close to finding the game-winning goal in the closing moments of added time, but his header was just pushed out of play by Ivačič.
Considering the Revs were not in the shape they wanted to be in after having their two CCL matches canceled. They’ll look to regroup and earn a crucial three points next Saturday, March 5th, as they host FC Dallas at 1:30 PM.