FOXBOROUGH, MA. – Tajon Buchanan’s wonder strike set the New England Revolution up for a comeback against the Philadelphia Union on Monday night at Gillette Stadium, but a disallowed goal and some stunning goalkeeping by Andre Blake stifled a late rally as the Union prevailed, 2–1. With this result, New England Revolution suffer a third loss of the year to the Union.
New England Revolution suffer third season loss to Philadelphia
The Revolution’s futility against Philadelphia, which now owns a 16–6–6 record against New England, is reaching new lows.
Philadelphia is unbeaten against the Revolution in two sides’ last nine meetings across all competitions, including four matches this year. The two clubs meet one more time during the regular season — the season finale, November 8, at Subaru Park.
“They’re one of the best teams in the Eastern [Conference] right now, if not in MLS,” Buchanan said after the game. “Their record shows it. Every time we play them it’s a tough game. They’re a great team. Not much you can say.”
Small moments pay off big for Philadelphia Union
But Monday’s match was won on the margins — with a lucky bounce or a singular decisive moment — just like so many other matches between these two teams.
Philadelphia (11–3–5, 38 points) opened the scoring in the 34th minute with New England (7-5-7, 28 points) seemingly in command of the game’s tempo.
Kai Wagner advanced into near the left side of the area off a Kacper Przybylko pass and sent the ball into the heart of the box. Revolution defender Andrew Farrell swept in to steer the feed away, but inadvertently cleared the ball inside the lower corner of his own net.
It marked the second-ever own goal of Farrell’s career.
“The own goal was a big play,” Revolution head coach/sporting director Bruce Arena said. “It made us chase.”
New England struggled to test Blake until the late stages of the second half, but forced him to drop low and knock away Teal Bunbury’s powerful 65th minute header.
The Union’s Anthony Fontana doubled the visitors’ lead by chipping past Matt Turner after running past Matt Polster and going in alone on net in the 70th minute off Jamiro Monteiro’s through pass.
Fontana has six goals this season — three are against the Revolution.
Revolution muster late-game rally behind Buchanan
From there, the Revolution attack came alive.
First came Buchanan’s second goal of the season — also his second-ever against Philadelphia — in the 80th minute. Buchanan ran in on goal after taking possession from DeJuan Jones and belted a line drive from outside the area to cut the deficit in half.
Buchanan also appeared to have the tying goal moments later then he tapped Bunbury’s feed from the left side of the box in off the post, but the referee immediately called the play offside.
Lee Nguyen forced a diving save from Blake with a freekick from just outside the area in the 85th minute, then shot over the crossbar in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time on the game’s final attacking play.
“The difference in the game was Blake,” Arena added. “The Bunbury header, the Nguyen freekick, two outstanding saves. That would have gotten us a point in this game.”
New England controlled almost 60 percent of possession on the night and out-shot the Union 22–7, and also held an 8–3 edge in shots on target.
Blake recorded seven saves for Philadelphia.
“We were right there, we should have at least come out with a point, if not a win,” Buchanan said.
Nguyen said after the game that he felt New England went toe-to-toe with Philadelphia, which now improves to second place in the Eastern Conference.
“This was a taste of what the post-season is going to be,” Nguyen said, though the Revolution are at least two games away from clinching a playoff berth.
“It’s good for us to see what we need to work on, to improve, and how close we are.”