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Everything you need to know about the Revolution’s 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire Saturday night, in quickie form:
Revs draw to open the season: It wasn’t a win, but after the way this one started — two Chicago goals in the first 11 minutes — a draw is satisfactory. New England opened the 2021 season with a 2-2 draw against the Fire, extending their winless streak in the season opener to eight years and earning only their third season-opening draw in that time.
A wild first half: You might need some oxygen after this. The Revs fell behind by two goals after 11 minutes, the first coming just five minutes into the new season before settling down (to a point) and fighting back to equalize.
Robert Beric opened the scoring after a giveaway in the back, before Chicago tore the Revs apart in the back: Beric, at the near post, passed over to Luka Stojanovic, who made a brilliant off-the-ball run — and did so completely unmarked — and pounded the ball home. But the Revs didn’t collapse, and three minutes later — the 14th minute — Adam Buksa opened his 2021 account by heading in the first corner service of the season, pulling a goal back. The Revolution pulled level in the 27th minute, as Tajon Buchanan’s cross — and let’s credit Brandon Bye’s long throw-in into space to free Buchanan — saw Gustavo Bou slide and tap it in for his first of the year. New England had a great chance to make it 3-2 and further accelerate into the ascendency, but Buksa’s header off Carles Gil’s free kick went over the bar. There was also plenty of sloppiness on the part of the Revs, as the midfield could not keep control of the football and sent Chicago toward Matt Turner time and again. Phew.
A status quo XI: Bruce Arena made no surprises Saturday night as he put in what we’re called a Status Quo lineup, although he did look to go with a 4-4-2. DeJuan Jones and Bye had the left and right back positions, respectively, with Henry Kessler and Andrew Farrell the center back pairing. Bou and Buksa were up top, with Buchanan and Gil wide and Tommy McNamara and Matt Polster tight in the midfield. Jones will miss the home opener next weekend after he was shown a straight red card in second half stoppage time for denying a goal-scoring opportunity.
Revs attack in the first half: Quite fairly, getting two goals in less than a quarter of an hour after going down a pair is pretty huge. Buksa could have had a couple, and Bou was in the right place to pop Buchanan’s cross in. Only Gil’s scoring touch was missing, and late sub Edward Kizza nearly scored what would have been the match winner, only to put the ball off the crossbar. We liked what we saw, would like that to be sharper.
Defending in first 11 minutes: That just wasn’t good enough, and I had a few choice expletives for that. Quite frankly, the Revs defending just got carved to pieces those few minutes. Thankfully it was just those few minutes.
Midfield play: It was pretty sloppy, and you might need one of those highway billboards with the digital numbers to tally up how many giveaways they had against that Chicago midfield.
Attack in the second half: The Revs mustered 10 shots and five on-target in the first half. In the second half? A paltry three shots, none on-target.
LET’S TALK ABOUT STATS, BABY
48.9 percent possession
13 shots, 5 on-target
73 percent passing accuracy — that’s not great
Matt Turner had five saves in the match, with the Fire recording 20 shots
WHAT SWEENS REALLY THINKS RIGHT NOW
I think that my opening thought really works. It looked bleak — really bleak — for a few minutes there, and even when Buksa scored, it was still an uneasy feeling. But to get the equalizer was big, and New England avoided another season-opening defeat. If the Revs had been a tad more accurate on one of two occasions, the tenor of this conversation would be a smidge different.
It’s the home opener from Gillette Stadium! New England returns home to host DC United next Saturday, Apr. 24 at 8 p.m.; it’s going to be a rather long night in Foxborough, so put the coffee on — and we’ll see you from Blue Level!