After a nearly five-month hiatus, New England Revolution II returned to action. After spending their first two seasons in USL League One, Revolution II kicked off their first match in the newly formed MLS NEXT Pro as they faced New York City FC II at Belson Stadium.
Revolution SuperDraft selection Jacob Jackson made his first appearance with the organization as he started the match in goal. In front of Jackson was the backline quartet of new additions José Ítalo, Ben Reveno, and Trevor Zwetsloot, alongside a returning Sean O’Hearn. Hikaru Fujiwara, Jake Rozhansky, and Michel formed the midfield as the trio of Damian Rivera, Esmir Bajraktarevic, and Meny Silva filled out the attack.
Rivera was in the right place at the right time in the 7th minute as the forward pass from the NYCFC II goalkeeper took an awkward bounce off a defender.
Rivera was quick to get onto the misplayed ball and advanced his way into the box and sent a shot into the bottom left corner of the net.
NYCFC II was quick to respond as a cross into the box was passed back to John Dennis, who slotted the ball past Jackson and into the back of the net.
New York City FC II came close to finding a second in the 23rd minute as a lobbed ball came to Massimo Murania, who darted through the Revs II backline and towards goal. Murania sent a shot on goal, but Jackson was all over it as he made the save.
Jackson was called upon again in the 28th minute as Justin Haak had his shot deflected into the air. NYCFC II’s first goalscorer, John Dennis, was under it as he leaped into the air and sent the ball on frame. Jackson jumped high as he got his hands on it and ended NYCFC’s chance.
Jack Beer gave up a costly foul for NYCFC II inside the penalty area as Rivera won Revolution II a penalty kick in the 28th minute. Rivera was the one to step up to the spot for Revs II as he looked to net his second goal of the match. He looked to send his penalty to the bottom left corner of the net. NYCFC II keeper Luis Barraza was all over it as he dove to his right and prevented Rivera from scoring the penalty.
NYCFC II earned a penalty in the 34th minute as Rozhansky fouled Jonathan Jimenez inside the box. Christopher Gloster was the one to step up to the spot for NYCFC. Gloster sent the penalty to the top left corner of the net as Jackson dove in the wrong direction. Gloster’s goal put NYCFC II up 2-1 in the 36th minute.
Kevin O’Toole came close to furthering NYCFC II’s lead in the 41st minute as he sprinted up the right side of the pitch and directed a shot on goal. Jackson prevented O’Toole’s shot from finding the net as he made the save.
Meny Silva came close to equalizing in the 54th as his running shot towards the bottom left post sails just wide and out for a goal kick.
The first Revolution II substitution came in the 68th minute as Revs Academy forward Isaie Louis came on for Hikaru Fujiwara.
Jackson stood on his head in the 69th minute as he came in with a clutch save to prevent Jonathan Jimenez from giving NYCFC II the lead.
Rivera netted his brace and found the equalizer for Revs II in the 70th minute as his tight-angled shot from the left side of the box snuck past Luis Barraza and into the roof of the net.
Another Revs II substitution came in the 71st minute as Colby Quinones came on for Sean O’Hearn. The final Revs II substitutions came in the 79th minute as Michael DeShields and Malcolm Fry came on for Damian Rivera and Michel.
NYCFC II thought they had the game-winning goal in second-half stoppage time, but Jackson came up huge for Revolution II as he made the save to keep them in the game. He finished the match with eight saves.
Revs II and NYCFC II made MLS NEXT Pro history as the score stayed level at two apiece after 90 minutes. Both sides earned a point and looked to earn a second by winning the first-ever MLS NEXT Pro shootout.
Meny Silva stepped up to the spot with a chance to give Revolution II the shootout victory. Silva sent his penalty kick to the right side of the net as Luis Barraza dove in the wrong direction. Revolution II celebrated as they walked away from Belson Stadium with two points.
After the first week of MLS NEXT Pro action, Revolution II sits in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Revolution II will welcome fans into Gillette Stadium on Sunday, April 3rd, as they host Jamie Vardy’s Rochester New York FC at 6:00 PM. Tickets are available to purchase via TicketMaster.