FOXBOROUGH – The Revolution broke things open early in the second half in taking a 5-1 victory over FC Cincinnati in a Round of 32 match in the US Open Cup Wednesday night.
Carles Gil scored the team’s first Open Cup hat trick, and Adam Buksa extended his scoring streak to five games in all competitions as the Revolution rallied from an early deficit. The Revolution, who visit Atlanta United for an MLS game Sunday, advanced to the Round of 16 scheduled May 24 or 25.
The Revolution took a 2-1 halftime lead as Gil converted first on a penalty, then from a deflected shot. Arnor Traustason took a pass from Gil and went down, referee Lukasz Szpala immediately whistling for a penalty, which Gil buried to tie things at 1-1. Gil broke the deadlock in the 37th with a shot that deflected past Kenneth Vermeer from the edge of the penalty area, following a Tommy McNamara layoff set up by a Brandon Bye advance on the right wing.
Buksa upped the edge with a header off the underside of of the crossbar in the 47th minute, set up by a Bye cross off a Damian Rivera pass. Bye then pulled back for a Gil one-timer from just inside the penalty area in the 54th to make it 4-1, before Buksa slammed in a drive from the edge of the penalty area to complete the scoring in the 56th.
Revolution sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena went with eight starters, then added five substitutes in the 62d minute.
Alvaro Barreal opened the scoring after breaking through the Revolution back line, finishing with the outside of his left foot off a Haris Medunjanin feed past Djordje Petrovic in the 10th minute.
“I thought we played poorly for about the first 25 minutes,” Arena said. “I think we were lucky to get ourselves back in the game in the first half and then second half, obviously, we took control of the game. I give them a lot of credit. They showed a lot more energy and commitment to start the game. For 20-25 minutes they played very well – they were first to a lot of balls and did a real good job. They played at a higher pace than us and once they got tired we got back in the game.
“We were fortunate to get the penalty and then the second goal. If we went in at halftime, 1-0, I think it would’ve been a really challenging second half.”
Observations from Wednesday’s game:
▪ The Revolution back line was caught off guard early. Henry Kessler was cautioned after grabbing Arquimides Ordonez to prevent a breakaway in the 10th minute, then Medunjanin split the central defense with a pass leading to the opening goal. Part of the Revolution defensive breakdowns can be traced to the midfield, where Matt Polster is usually expected to stifle things. Polster and Sebastian Lletget were the only two Revolution regular outfield players to start the game on the bench.
▪ As the match progressed, Brazilian midfielder Maciel improved defensively, combining with McNamara. Maciel was making his first appearance since April 2 and his second start of the year.
▪ Traustason, starting for the first time since Oct. 24, twice went down after outmanuevering left back Zico Bailey, who was cautioned in the 24th minute, then surrendered a penalty kick. Traustason has been expected to provide experience and savvy, but struggled to adjust after arriving from Sweden last year.
▪ Pat Noonan, No. 6 on the Revolution all-time scoring list, has coached FC Cincinnati to a 5-5-1 record (one win better than last season) in his first year as head coach. This was the first time Noonan has faced Arena, who gave him his first cap for the US national team and employed him as an assistant with the Los Angeles Galaxy and US team. Noonan’s staff includes Arena’s son, Kenny, also a former Galaxy assistant.
“I think he’s done an outstanding job,” Arena said of Noonan. “I think guys that come in and take teams that are down and move them forward, I think it’s a remarkable job. If I’m not mistaken, they’ve won more games in the league than they won last year.”
Arena said he considered hiring his son, who assisted him with the Galaxy.
“I could’ve brought him to New England,” the coach said, “but I thought going to Cincinnati was a better professional opportunity for him.”
▪ Petrovic played for the Revolution II team in a 4-0 loss to the Columbus Crew II team Sunday, but this was his initial first team appearance for the Revolution. Arena noted Petrovic “really had no action but I think it’s important for him to get on the field.”
Petrovic did stuff a point-blank attempt by Junior Moreno in the 78th minute.
▪ Colombian winger Dylan Borrero is set to join the Revolution Thursday, according to Arena.
Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.