FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution extended their unbeaten streak to 10 games, but twice surrendered leads in playing to a 2-2 tie with FC Cincinnati before a crowd of 20,193 Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.
Dylan Borrero and Gustavo Bou provided the advantages, but the Revolution surrendered an own goal, and a turnover led to Cincinnati’s second late in the second half.
The Revolution (6-5-7, 25 pts.), who visit New York City FC next Saturday, are 4-0-6 since April 23, but are taking the lead in each match and mostly struggling to hold it. They are just 5-3-4 this season when scoring first after going 17-0-3 in such spots last year.
Borrero’s left-footer gave the Revolution the edge in the 30th minute, capitalizing as Nick Hagglund lost control of a long clearance from goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic. The Revolution spent much of the early going trying to make an extra pass and missing connections, or being played offside. By going more direct, they appeared to surprise Cincinnati (7-7-4, 25 pts.).
Sebastian Lletget took possession off Hagglund, who raced back but failed to take down the clearance. Borrero advanced on the left and fired into the far side of the net for his second goal of the season.
Cincinnati equalized on a Luciano Acosta corner kick that went off Henry Kessler for an own goal in the 41st. Acosta’s corner dipped over Brandon Vazquez and deflected into the far side of the net, leaving Petrovic no chance.
In the 45th minute, the Revolution lost Borrero after a collision with Petrovic off another corner. Emmanuel Boateng replaced Borrero, and Bou broke the deadlock with a header off a Boateng cross in the 55th minute. Bou made a near post run, re-directing the cross inside the back post for his fourth goal of the season.
Petrovic preserved the lead with a double save in the 69th, stopping a Brandon Bye deflection that appeared headed for an own goal, then a Vazquez point-blank rebound. But Petrovic later sent a clearance to a triple-teamed Damian Rivera, who lost possession, Brenner de Souza equalizing off an Acosta assist in the 73rd.
“Of course we could’ve gotten three points,” Revolution sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena said. “We haven’t lost a game in the last 10 games, which is not the worst thing to happen. . . . We have 16 more games remaining to get a little bit better, but we’re not in the worst shape and we’ve been forced to re-design our team, with some roster moves, and all of that. So it takes a little time, but we’re doing OK.
“It’s a very odd season. The whole league is odd. There’s probably 20 teams that could win their conferences. It’s a classic MLS season. You win a couple games in a row and you’re likely threatening to be in first place.”
Observations from Sunday’s game:
⋅ Petrovic has been effective since taking over from Matt Turner, 2-0-3 in five games. He made spectacular stops against Cincinnati, and his distribution was good for most of the match.
But Petrovic could have prevented the turnover leading to Cincinnati’s second goal by simply holding the ball and slowing down the play, instead of quickly rolling it into the middle of field. Or, Petrovic could played a long ball, possibly catching Cincinnati’s back line off balance, as he did on the opening goal.
“Djordje shouldn’t have thrown the ball to Rivera and Rivera did not do a good job. His first touch was really poor,” Arena said. “Under pressure at that point in the game, Cincinnati’s smart, they’re trying to get the ball back, give them credit.”
⋅ The only time the Revolution have not taken the lead in the last 13 games was the scoreless tie at Vancouver last week. The Revolution have gone ahead in 15 of 18 games, failing to maintain the advantage nine times (6-3-6).
⋅ The sequence leading to Bou’s goal started with a buildup via quick passes through midfield before DeJuan Jones ran at the defense, then laid off to Boateng for a cross. Revolution passing was effective, as Wilfrid Kaptoum and Lucas Maciel combined well in supporting roles in midfield behind Carles Gil. But the Revolution’s possession game declined without Borrero and Sebastian Lletget, who was replaced by Rivera in the 69th minute.
⋅ Bye compiled five assists as the Revolution took victories over Cincinnati by scores of 5-1 in the US Open Cup and 3-2 in a road game in May. This time, Cincinnati stifled Bye with left back Ian Murphy, John Nelson moving to left wing.
⋅ Jozy Altidore has gone down in the penalty area several times since joining the Revolution without earning a penalty kick. In this game, he appeared to be hit from behind by Hagglund in the 84th minute, referee Jon Freemon allowing play to continue.
⋅ Bou had three shots stopped and sent one high and another wide in the second half. Bou’s runs were mostly effective but, performing as a lone striker, it was difficult to evade defenders.
“He scored a goal. That’s what strikers are supposed to do,” Arena said. “He held up the ball. He did a good job. Not perfect, but he did a solid job.”
⋅ Also Sunday, New England’s under-19 entry in the MLS NEXT Cup, an academy-team league operated by MLS since 2020, won its age-group championship with a 1-0 victory over the San Francisco Glens.
REVOLUTION-FC CINCINNATI 2-2
REVOLUTION: Djordje Petrovic; Brandon Bye, Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler (Jon Bell 46th), DeJuan Jones; Wilfrid Kaptoum, Lucas Maciel (Jozy Altidore 78th); Sebastian Lletget (Damian Rivera 69th), Carles Gil, Dylan Borrero (Emmanuel Boateng 46th); Gustavo Bou.
FC CINCINNATI: Roman Celentano; Alvas Powell (Raymon Gaddis 56th), Geoff Cameron, Nick Hagglund, Ian Murphy (Tyler Blackett 87th); Yuya Kubo (Haris Medunjanin 72d), Luciano Acosta, Allan Cruz, John Nelson (Alvaro Barreal 56th); Brenner de Souza, Brandon Vazquez (Nick Markanich 87th).
Referee: Jon Freemon. Goals: Borrero 30th, Kessler (own goal) 41st, Bou 55th, Brenner 73d. Attendance: 20,193.