The Revolution broke a Red Bull Arena jinx and extended their lead in the Supporters Shield race with a 3-2 victory over the New York Red Bulls Saturday night.
Adam Buksa’s added-time goal made the difference as the Revolution (11-3-3, 36 points) improved their winning streak to four games, defeating the Red Bulls (5-7-3, 18points) at the Harrison, N.J., stadium for the first time in a regular season game.
The Revolution, who play host to Nashville SC Wednesday, twice overcame deficits, converting twice in the final six minutes.
Early on, the Red Bulls’ aggressiveness paid off, as referee Rami Touchan allowed play to continue after ignoring appeals from both Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil for foul calls. And the Red Bulls took advantage of the possession, Wikelman Carmona scoring his first MLS goal, a 20-yard left-footer in the eighth minute.
The Revolution nearly equalized as Buksa hit the right post (22nd), Tommy McNamara’s rebound saved, then the crossbar (45th) off a Brandon Bye cross.
Bou equalized with his 10th goal of the season, drilling a shot from the penalty arc off the underside of the bar in the 60th minute. The score was set up as the Revolution built out of the back, then DeJuan Jones and Arnor Traustason played a give-and-go from near the halfway line.
Fabio Gomes broke the deadlock, finishing from close range after a Dru Yearwood pass went off Bye’s heel, then was backheeled by Caden Clark following a throw-in in the 63d minute.
Bou had a goal disallowed for offside (68th) before Bye headed in a Gil free kick in the 84th minute. Then, Buksa took down what appeared to be a Gil shot, firing past Carlos Coronel in the first minute of stoppage time, the sequence started by a Brad Knighton goal kick. Gil went down and was replaced by Scott Caldwell, but sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena said Gil was “fine” after the game.
“I told the team at the end of the game – ‘That’s our best win,’” Arena said. “Everyone would think that the one in Fort Lauderdale [5-0 over Inter Miami CF] was our best win, but this was our best win because it showed character, determination, skill, and a real fighting mentality. I’m proud of the guys, because they’re going to be in a lot of difficult games as we enter the second-half of the season, and you’ve got to have that kind of attitude.”
Other observations from Saturday’s game:
▪ Buksa has scored eight goals and hit the bar seven times this season. “I thought this was the toughest mentality he’s had since he’s coming into Major League Soccer,” Arena said of Buksa. “From the first minute to the end, he was a guy that was tough to deal with. Really encouraging.”
▪ In Red Bull Arena’s 11-year history, the Revolution have compiled a 4-11-2 record in all competitions — including a 2-1 victory over the Red Bulls in the 2014 playoffs, plus wins over FC Montreal and New York City FC, which have called the stadium home the last two seasons. The result snapped the Red Bulls’ five-game (4-0-1) home unbeaten streak. “We had to compete better,” Arena said of his halftime message. “We thought if we got the next goal in the game, we could win the game. We didn’t anticipate them getting a second. It was a day where, really, they didn’t have many chances, in my opinion. But the second half, just having the kind of determination we had was the difference in the game.”
▪ The Revolution lead the league in scoring (33 goals, 1.94 per game), but it has taken time for the team’s Big 3 — Bou, Buksa, and Gil — to combine. The next game, against Nashville, could provide a strong test for their chemistry. Arena changed the lineup after the team’s three Designated Players failed to click when Nashville took a 2-0 win over the Revolution May 8, the only time the Revolution have been blanked this season; they have been reunited in the starting lineup this month, the team going 4-1-0 with a 13-6 goal differential.
▪ After Bye’s tying goal, the Revolution remained on the offensive, though the situation might have called for caution. “We were saying to each other that it’s not the end, we have to take a big chance to score the third goal because we were capable of doing that and we managed to do it,” Buksa said. “The last seconds was all about character and fight, and we stayed strong together. That togetherness in crucial moments is very important. I would say character always beats talent, beats individual skills. If you have a great group of people that want to fight for each other then you’ll win, and that happened today.”
▪ The Revolution dominated in the late going, substitute Teal Bunbury threatening on the right with a shot wide (81st) and another saved (82d), before DeJuan Jones earned a free kick against Kyle Duncan on the left wing (83d). Gil curled the free kick to Bye for his 14th assist of the season.
▪ The Red Bulls rely on high-energy pressure, and the tactic was effective in the first half. But the Revolution remained composed, eventually gaining control of the match via skillful play. “We knew that they were going to come out with that kind of energy,” Arena said. “That happens on the road. It’s exactly what we anticipated, and it was something that we were not concerned about because we knew they’d throw everything at us. And you could see after 20 minutes or so they lost their sharpness in terms of their physicality because of the effort they put into the first 20 minutes. The game is 90 minutes, and sometimes things don’t go well early. You’ve to play the full 90 minutes, and we did, and that was the difference in the game.”
▪ A.J. DeLaGarza made his first start at center back, as the Revolution were missing Jon Bell (injured) and Henry Kessler (US national team). Tajon Buchanan (Canada) concluded Gold Cup play with a loss to Mexico in the semifinals and goalkeeper Matt Turner is expected to start in the final against Mexico in Las Vegas Sunday.
▪ The Revolution are ahead of the team-record pace set by the 2005 team, which had a 10-2-5 (35 points) record after 17 games and finished the season 17-7-8 (59 points). The Revolution, who hold a four-point lead over the Seattle Sounders in the Supporters Shield race, are 5-2-3 on the road, one short of the team away victory record.