Adam Buksa and Daryl Dike traded goals within the first 20 minutes, but what looked to be a high-scoring affair turned on an own goal and missed penalty kick, as the New England Revolution beat Orlando City SC 2-1 at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.
The Revs remain on pace to become the best regular-season team in MLS history (based on points) and handed Orlando their fourth straight loss, putting their Audi MLS Cup Playoff hopes in peril.
The Revs pulled ahead in the 9th minute, on a play finished by Buksa but worked brilliantly by Gustavo Bou in the buildup. Bou dummied a pass from Tommy McNamara which allowed him to get a jump on Orlando defender Ruan, and then raced down the left flank and put in a far-post cross that Buksa deftly finished.
Orlando equalized nine minutes later, with Dike posting up and pivoting around former college teammate Henry Kessler en route to equalizing. His low blast was too powerful for Revs goalkeeper Matt Turner to handle.
But the Revs went up again before halftime, largely thanks to Tajon Buchanan's work down the right sideline to freeze Joao Moutinho before crossing for Buksa. Though the resulting goal initially looked like Buksa's second, it was credited as a Rodrigo Schlegel own goal, as the center back was intertwined with the Polish forward and unlucky to see it bounce off his leg and past goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
Buksa again appeared to record his second goal in the 72nd minute on a well-worked exchange by multiple Revs players, but he was lurking just offside when that pass came to him.
Just a moment later, Andrew Farrell got whistled for fouling Dike in the box, allowing Nani to step to the spot and attempt an equalizing PK. As he did in last year's Eastern Conference Semifinals, Turner stopped the Portuguese star, holding firm to the center and parrying away the talisman's attempt.
Bou nearly found the insurance goal New England were seeking all half, hammering a shot from distance in the 86th minute that caromed off the woodwork. But it was clearly a match that the Revs were meant to win, with an important three points pushing them closer to a single-season apogee.
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Revs set a single-season record for points with the win (62), and their 2.21 PPG puts them on pace for regular-season supremacy. They already have a playoff spot secured, so greater aims await. Orlando saw several Eastern Conference competitors also struggle Saturday, leaving the playoff race incredibly tight. But for Oscar Pareja's team to qualify, they must emerge from their current swoon – and they have a tough midweek test at Nashville up next.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Turner came up big to deny what looked like it was going to be a hard-luck equalizer.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Turner gets the nod for his difference-making moment, as well as some late heroics against a Lions side pressing for an equalizer.