The Revolution are making themselves at home wherever they go. The Revolution’s 3-2 win over the Montreal Impact Wednesday night was their first in a regular-season match at 10-year old Red Bull Arena, the Impact’s home during the pandemic.
Kekuta Manneh, Teal Bunbury, and Adam Buksa scored as the Revolution (7-4-7, 28 points) moved into fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Revolution, who play host to the Philadelphia Union Monday, won their third straight away game and improved to 6-2-2 on the road.
A revamped Revolution lineup included three starters from a 2-1 win over New York City FC Sunday —goalkeeper Matt Turner; Bunbury (a striker against NYC FC, but a right wing in this match); and right back DeJuan Jones (left back last game). The combination of a physically refreshed Revolution group and a sluggish Impact team, which lost defender Rod Fanni (leg) during added time, resulted in a first-half mismatch. The Revolution, third in the league in shots attempted (14.5 per game), outshot Montreal, 15-3, in taking a 2-1 halftime lead.
Manneh, making his first Revolution start, finished off a breakaway, the sequence starting with a Matt Polster win in the center circle in the 13th minute. Buksa went in alone on James Pantemis, then held up and squared for Manneh, running in to the penalty area on the left.
Bunbury scored his team-leading sixth goal, heading in an Alexander Buttner cross off a corner kick, following a close-in attempt by Diego Fagundez. The score was initially negated before a VAR review ruled Bunbury had been played on-side by Clement Bayiha in the 19th minute.
Amar Sejdic cut the deficit with the Impact’s first shot, a left-foot finish after Romell Quioto slipped past Antonio Delamea on the right side of the penalty area in the 27th minute.
Buksa took a through ball from Fagundez, then held off two defenders, had his initial shot blocked by Pantemis, then followed right-footed into an open net in the 52nd minute, his fourth goal of the season.
Turner saved Quioto’s shots (62nd and 73rd minutes), then Jean-Yves Ballou Tabla cut the deficit in the second minute of second-half added time, roofing a shot off a pass from Quioto.
“I told them at the end of the game in the locker room that if we aspire to be a better team, the result is better than 3-2,” Revolution coach Bruce Arena said. “We conceded two goals, we were sloppy over the last 20-30 minutes of the game. I wasn’t pleased with that, but again, I give our guys credit for getting a win on the road.”
Observations from the game:
▪ The Revolution, playing their fourth game in 12 days, will have seven games this month. So far, they have passed the depth test. Gustavo Bou returned after missing two games, playing 20 minutes as a substitute for Kelyn Rowe, but they lost Cristian Penilla (toe surgery), according to Arena. “I think teams are worn out,” Arena said. “To be able to make eight changes and get 3 points on the road is very good.”
▪ Buksa did not seem to have problems with confidence, despite missing a penalty kick in a 1-0 loss to Toronto FC and losing his starting position. “Missing a penalty is still a part of the game,” Buksa said. “You cannot think about one penalty for the rest of the year. I want to score goals but to perform well and I think last game against New York City and today against Montreal, both were good games. Even against Toronto, it was a good performance but just the penalty, it kind of didn’t confirm my good performance. I know I have to score goals and this is what you demand from a striker so I’ll take it.” MLS did not release Buksa for a call-up last month to the Polish national team, which gained first place in the Nations League Group 1 with a 3-0 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina Wednesday. “The Polish national team has always been my dream,” Buksa said. “I was very disappointed, I have to tell you, but I understand the rules and I understand that the world has been crazy over the last year so I’ll have to respect that and hopefully I’ll be performing as good as I did today to receive another call-up.”
▪ Fagundez started his professional career as a forward, and at the age of 18 led the Revolution in scoring with 13 goals in 2013. But Fagundez believes his best position is in a playmaking role as an advanced midfielder. And Fagundez once again proved himself as a midfield choreographer in place of Lee Nguyen, and also combined with Polster and Rowe to contain the Impact’s Victor Wanyama. Early last month, the Revolution seemed most vulnerable at the No. 10 position; now, that appears to be a team strength, and could improve with the possible return of Carles Gil, who started individual workouts this week.
▪ The Impact defeated the Revolution, 2-1, in the season-opener Feb. 29. But Montreal appears to have stagnated, while the Revolution have improved, winning three straight times against the Impact. “If we continue to grow as a team and become a better team, days like tonight should be much more decisive in our win,” Arena said. “That part is disappointing. But having said that, teams don’t win that many games on the road. We’ve done very well in that regard, so I have no complaints.”