The New England Revolution traveled to Mexico City as they took on Pumas UNAM inside a packed Estadio Olímpico Universitario in the second leg of the CCL Quarterfinals. The Revs came in with a 3-0 advantage thanks to goals from Sebastian Lletget and Adam Buksa in the first leg. While 3-0 may seem like a good advantage, it wasn’t large enough for New England.
There was one change to the Revolution’s lineup from the first leg as Jon Bell starts in the backline as Andrew Farrell did not travel with the team. Per Jeff Lemieux, Farrell stayed behind in New England as he “rests with soreness”.
Pumas made three changes to their lineup from leg one as American Sebastian Saucedo, Omar Islas, and Efraín Velarde made their way into the starting XI.
Pumas went full offensive in the first half as they looked to overcome a 3-0 deficit to keep their CCL hopes alive. Earl Edwards Jr. was called into action quite early.
Arnór Traustason entered the books early as the Icelandic midfielder received a yellow card after fouling Omar Islas.
Gustavo Bou looked to get the Revs offense rolling in the 17th minute as he sent a cross towards Adam Buksa, who was a step ahead of his defender. Buksa got on to the end of Bou’s cross, but his shot would trail wide of goal and out for a Pumas goal kick.
Juan Dinenno found the opening goal in the 33rd minute after working through the duo of Gonzalez and Bell and deflected the incoming cross off his knee and past Edwards cutting the aggregate score to 3-1. Bou looked to even things up in the 35th minute as he sent a shot to the right side of the net. Alfredo Talavera was all over it as he stretched himself out to make the save.
Although down 1-0, Bruce Arena and the Revs still maintained a two-goal lead on aggregate at halftime. Pumas had control of the first half as they had 68% possession during the opening 45 minutes. Arena made one change before the start of the second half as Tommy McNamara replaced Arnór Traustason.
Dinenno cut the Revs aggregate lead to one in the 49th minute as he got on to the end of José Rojéiro’s pass inside the box and easily beat Gonzalez to the ball and put it past Edwards into the back left corner of the net.
Disaster struck the Revs in the 60th minute as Brandon Bye’s attempted clearance failed to clear the box and fell to an awaiting Salcedo, who easily found the net, which tied the series 3-3 on aggregate.
Jozy Altidore looked to come into the match and replace Sebastian Lletget in the 70th minute, but plans changed as Bou looked to be in some discomfort and Altidore came on in place of the striker.
In a puzzling turn of events, Jozy Altidore received a yellow card after conversing with the head referee after being shoved by a Pumas player. It seems either Jozy’s comments or laughter following the exchange was what sent the head referee to his pocket.
The Revs held on for the remainder of regular time as they found themselves tied 3-3 on aggregate, meaning the game went to penalty kicks. The last time the Revs went to penalty kicks was their heart-shattering loss to NYCFC in the 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs.
It was all up to Edwards as Juan Dinenno stepped up to the spot with penalties tied at three in the final kick of the fifth round.. Time stood still as Dinenno’s shot sailed to the top right corner as Edwards dove the wrong direction. After falling 3-0 in the first leg, Pumas bounced back to advance to the CCL semifinals after defeating the New England Revolution in penalties.
The Revs will look to bounce back as they resume MLS action on Saturday, March 19th, as they face MLS newcomers Charlotte FC on the road at 7:00 PM ET.