New England Revolution beat Montreal Impact at Red Bull Arena
On Wednesday night, it was neither, as the Montreal Impact, who have shared the facility with New York as a makeshift home venue because of COVID-19 this season, fell there to the Revolution, 3–2.
The result marked New England’s first-ever regular season victory at Red Bull Arena, where the club’s only other win came in a 2–1 victory over New York during the 2014 MLS Cup Playoffs.
New England started with energy Wednesday and converted twice within the opening 20 minutes as it improved to 7–4–7 (28 points) on the season and jumped into fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
“This was a good win for us, but I think we gave goals away that normally don’t have to be goals,” said Revolution defender Alex Buttner. “I think we can win this game maybe 4-0.”
Manneh, Bunbury open scoring for Revolution
Kekuta Manneh, one of eight lineup changes to the team that defeated New York City FC 2–1 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, opened the scoring just nine minutes into his first Revolution start.
The play began with Matt Polster, whose through ball reached Adam Buksa darting toward Montreal’s net. Buksa entered the right side of the area, then squared for an open Manneh, who easily tucked the pass past James Pantemis.
Teal Bunbury doubled the advantage with this team-leading sixth goal of the season in the 20th minute. He headed in a cross out of midfield by Buttner, though referee Joe Dickerson only awarded the strike after VAR overturned a prior offside call.
“They said it was offside, but we scored a good goal,” said Buttner. “It was the right movement from Teal.”
Buttner also shot wide of the far post just 37 seconds into the game, while Manneh had a long range bid halted by Pantemis (sixth minute) and Diego Fagundez curled an effort wide of the right post (24th).
Montreal Impact rally in first half
New England eventually scaled back their attacking pressure, which gave Montreal an opportunity to counter.
The Impact logged a goal in the 27th minute via Amar Sejdic, who advanced into the penalty area to poke Romell Quioto’s pass past Matt Turner.
Quioto, who Wednesday night returned to the starting lineup after a four-game injury spell, manufactured the play by running down the right side of the box, cutting past Antonio Delamea, and finding Sejdic free and open.
Quioto threatened to level the game four minutes later when he again made a run into the ride of the penalty area, but Turner dropped low to block Quioto’s eventual shot.
New England returned to attacking immediately, with Pantemis diving right to stop Buksa’s left-footed drive from outside the box (33rd) and snuffing Manneh’s breakaway near the top of the area (35th).
Late drama in stoppage time
Buksa appeared to have killed Montreal’s hope of a comeback in the 52nd minute when he rolled a hard shot past Pantemis after taking on the Impact the defense following a Fagundez through pass.
“I know I have to score goals,” Buksa said. “This is what you demand from a striker, and I take it.”
But Montreal controlled spells of possession in the final half hour and threatened through Quioto.
The hosts prevailed with their late pressure. Ballou Tabla pulled another goal back, in the second minute of stoppage time, by knocking in a feed by Quioto past Turner from inside the six-yard box.
Montreal earned just one more trip upfield in the final moments of the game, but failed to muster another effort on goal.
“I told the guys in the locker room after the game that if we aspire to be a better team, this result is better than 3-2,” said Revolution head coach Bruce Arena. “We conceded two goals and were sloppy over the final 20 minutes of the game, so I’m not pleased with that.
“We’re going to take three points on the road any day,” Arena added. “For large segments of the game we played well, but we had some sloppy moments. If we continue to grow as a team, and become a better team, days like [today] we’ll be much more decisive in our wins.”
New England is now 12–10–3 against Montreal all-time, including 2–0–0 in neutral venues.