FOXBOROUGH – A record-breaking season for the New England Revolution came to a crashing end Tuesday night, falling to New York City FC in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals 5-3 on penalty kicks.
Matt Turner, the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, was unable to stop a shot in the shootout. NYCFC’s Sean Johnson made a save on Adam Buksa in the second round to help propel NYCFC to the upset.
The Revs, playing for the first time in 23 days, couldn’t find their footing for much of the night. NYCFC dictated play for the vast majority of the contest, controlling possession and outshooting the Revs, the second-highest scoring team in MLS.
The Revs fell behind twice, once in the 3rd minute and again in extra time. Tajon Buchanan, in his final game in a Revolution uniform before transitioning to Club Brugge in the Belgian League, netted a dramatic equalizer in the 118th minute, propelling the match to penalties. The Revs took advantage of an undermanned NYCFC side in the waning minutes of the game after Valentin Castellanos was sent off when he picked up his second yellow card five minutes earlier.
After the game, head coach Bruce Arena was non-committal about his future with the franchise. “We’ll see what makes sense and we’ll move forward,” the MLS Coach of the Year said after a long pause when asked if he would return next season.
How it happened:
NYCFC struck instantly, with Santiago Rodriguez burying a cross from Tayvon Gray in the 3rd minute. It was the fastest goal the Revs had allowed in a game since 2019.
But the Revs bounced back quickly. Carles Gil sprinted down the right sideline, drawing a foul and a free kick. Gil then picked out Buksa in the box, with the striker clinically heading the ball into the net to even the score in the 9th minute.
The game remained 1-1 until extra time. Castellanos, the league’s leading scorer, put NYCFC ahead 109th minute, crashing toward the net and heading home a cross from Gudmundur Thorarinsson.
After Castellanos was sent off, the Revs put forward an all-out attack. Emmanuel Boateng, on as a late substitution, helped set up Buchanan’s equalizer.
THEREEEE HE GOESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!! Massive! pic.twitter.com/IVuJZvHin8— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) December 1, 2021
The Revs fell behind in the second round of the penalties and couldn’t get a stop to even up the deciding kicks. Alexander Callens drove home the clinching spot kick to send New York City to the Eastern Conference final, where they will play the Philadelphia Union.
The game was played in front of 25,509 fans. It marks the third-largest crowd for a Revolution postseason game in franchise history.
By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com