The New England Revolution salvaged a miracle 2-2 draw with Orlando City SC on a rain-soaked Sunday evening at Exploria Stadium behind two late goals from second-half substitute Adam Buksa, capping a dream-like weekend where they also won the 2021 MLS Supporters' Shield and reached nine games unbeaten.
Orlando City were on the verge of taking three huge points in the race for the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed after goals from Nani and Daryl Dike had them protecting a 2-0 lead just nine minutes from full-time. But Buksa struck twice before the final whistle to deliver the Revs a dramatic road point, as the Poland international reached 16 goals this season to challenge D.C. United's Ola Kamara (17) for the Golden Boot presented by Audi lead.
New England started the game by resting nine starters, a luxury Bruce Arena's team is afforded by having long secured the East's No. 1 playoff seed. With the draw, they're now two points away from tying LAFC's single-season point record (72) from the 2019 campaign before year-end home matches against Colorado (Oct. 27) and Inter Miami (Nov. 7). A win in either game will suffice.
Oscar Pareja's group controlled much of the first half and earned a breakthrough opener on 39 minutes. Nani netted his first goal in his last 10 MLS games, cashing home a header that evaded Revs goalkeeper Matt Turner after left back Joao Moutinho's lofted cross.
The Lions then doubled their lead shortly after the second-half kickoff, this time from 12 yards out when Nani won a penalty kick for a foul on New England right back AJ DeLaGarza. Dike made no mistake with the ensuing spot-kick, coolly slotting home the 2-0 finish past Turner's dive.
But Orlando couldn't hold the lead, with Buksa starting the comeback in the 81st minute by finishing Gustavo Bou's precise cross to make it 2-1. New England pressed hard for a late equalizer, with Tajon Buchanan having the first close opportunity off a rebound opportunity that fizzed just wide. DeJuan Jones then came just inches away from leveling in the 86th minute, requiring a diving save from Pedro Gallese.
It looked like Gallese's heroics would deliver Orlando the victory, but Buksa ensured that wouldn't be the case. The Revs' No. 9 headed home Jones' cross in the 93rd minute to stun the home crowd, settling the 2-2 scoreline.
- THE BIG PICTURE: This draw is a big letdown for Orlando, who caught the Revs with a heavily rotated lineup. Even as New England brought on the likes of Buksa, Bou and Carles Gil, the 2-0 lead should have been enough. As for New England, this type of comeback is exactly why they're basking in the glow of the club's first-ever Supporters' Shield and are closing in on breaking the MLS single-season points record, which they can accomplish with three points from their final two games.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It's Buska's last-gasp finish, which flipped this contest for the Revs from a tough road defeat to a well-earned draw.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: It can't be anyone other than Buksa, who was initially given the night off from his usual place in the starting XI, then completely changed the game and final result with his late-game theatrics.