FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Scott Caldwell, the New England Revolution’s captain on Wednesday night, knew it would be a tall task hosting league-leading Atlanta United. The attacking power of Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez and Ezequiel Barco, he said, required some special attention and plenty of respect.
“We knew if we could get tight to them, get pressure on them, they wouldn’t create much,” Caldwell said. “I think we do a good job in the first half minus one, two times they got into the box. We wish we could’ve gotten some breathing room with a goal there, but it turned out alright.”
The mission was partially accomplished in a 1-1 draw, which saw a Martinez strike in the 23rd minute cancelled out by a controversial Teal Bunbury penalty kick in the 88th. The result, which gave the Revs two draws in a row at home, also required a man-of-the-match performance from goalkeeper Matt Turner.
That’s at least what Bunbury said, a sentiment that head coach Brad Friedel went a step further on. A former Premier League and national team ‘keeper himself, Friedel said the sky is truly the limit for Turner after his six-save showing.
“As long as he stays grounded, humble, focused, his potential is really high,” Friedel said. “You guys see him play – there aren’t too many American goalkeepers that are better than him anywhere in the world. He will have the ability to play at national team level if, and only if, he continues to work the way that he does.”
Last year, New England and Atlanta also drew at Gillette Stadium, a 0-0 result. Then, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the Revs were blown out 7-0 in a game where they drew two red cards.
But that was under Jay Heaps, and a different script unfolded under Friedel. New England went toe-to-toe with the Five Stripes, with total passes (468 to 419), duels won (55 to 50) and possession (52 to 48 percent) only slightly tilted in Atlanta’s favor.
“Atlanta is a good team, they have a lot of key players, but we kept pushing and got a point,” Bunbury said. “We’ll assess this game and good thing we have another game in a couple days against the Red Bulls, who are another great team.”
As Bunbury said, the Revs are right back at it against Jesse Marsch’s bunch on Saturday back at Gillette Stadium (7:30 pm ET | TV & streaming info). That will mark the third game of a grueling five-game stretch in 15 days, including U.S. Open Cup play.
“Now that we have the penalty, we got the draw, we have to look forward to three points against Red Bull,” Friedel said.