In a match that will not be featured prominently in either team’s end-of-year highlights, the Union and Revolution split the points 1-1 in Foxborough on Wednesday night.
Brandon Bye had the goal for the Revs. Kacper Przybylko scored for the Union.
Union first XI: Freese; Wagner, Trusty, Elliott, Gaddis; Monteiro, Medunjanin, Bedoya, Aaronson; Santos, Przybylko
Revs first XI: Knighton; Bye, Farrell, Anibaba, Castillo; Agudelo, Caicedo, Zahibo, Penilla; Bunbury, Gil
First half: Ugliness and rust
This was the first league match for the Union in over two weeks and it showed. They weren’t crisp with their passing and turned the ball over repeatedly in the middle of the field, inviting the Revs to counter them, and counter them the Revs did. Despite having more of the ball in the first half, the Union were the less threatening side. Not only were the boys in blue rusty, but they were sloppy as well, failing to pick up Brandon Bye on the near post on a corner kick in the 31st minute as Bye slipped by everyone and easily roofed a shot Union keeper Matt Freese had no chance at stopping. The half ended 1-0 in favor of the Revs.
Second half: Grit and determination
The second half saw Ilsinho come on for Brenden Aaronson (who actually earned several calls tonight instead of being hacked into oblivion for nothing) at halftime and right away, things changed. The Revs began sending three men at him whenever he got the ball, mostly stalling him out. However, three men chasing one man on the right means men on the left are open, and Curtin exploited this by inserting Fafa Picault on the left for Sergio Santos in the 62nd minute. Picault ran wild through the space created by the shift, and it was Picault who took a ball in on the keeper and crossed it to see Kacper Przybylko blast it home in the 84th minute for the equalizer. As a whole, the Union played better (although not up to where they normally have been this year) in the second half, good enough to earn a road point against the retooled Revolution.
My take: Getting any points on the road in MLS is hard. Couple that with the long layoff and the fact the Revs are no longer pushovers and have a real manager in Bruce Arena, and this is a road point I’ll be happy with, and I think the Union will be too. Matt Freese deputized ably for Andre Blake (who is still with Jamaica at the Gold Cup). Brenden Aaronson finally got some calls. New England put the blueprint out for how to stop Ilsinho, but again, more people over here means less people over there, which Curtin figured out. It’s a good result.