The New England Revolution continued their dream run through the MLS Eastern Conference on Sunday, knocking off another higher seed to move a step closer to an improbable return to the MLS Cup final.
Gustavo Bou and Carles Gil shined yet again, combining for three goals in a 3-1 win over Orlando City. The victory moves the Revs into the Eastern Conference final, where they will face the winner of Sunday night’s quarterfinal between the Columbus Crew and Nashville SC.
Orlando City found itself in an early 2-0 deficit, but nearly pulled off a stirring comeback, but the Lions saw their efforts thwarted by Matt Turner, who saved a Nani penalty kick in the 74th minute to maintain a 2-1 lead for the Revs.
The Revolution jumped out to a two-goal lead just 25 minutes into the match, with Tajon Buchanan leading the charge. The Canadian winger-turned-right back drew a penalty for New England’s opening goal, then played a part in the build-up on the Revs’ second goal.
New England’s early goals shook the confident Orlando City side but as the hosts were approaching halftime, energy was rebuilding and an equalizer seemed around the corner after Junior Urso’s 33rd-minute goal cut the Revs lead in half.
Mauricio Pereyra’s red card tackle on Matt Polster in the 60th minute made that a much harder task for Oscar Pareja, but a chance for survival came in the 74th minute after Matt Polster fouled Daryl Dike in the penalty area.
Nani stepped up to take the match-tying penalty, but saw his chance thwarted by a diving save from Matt Turner.
Bou provided the final dagger in the 86th minute, racing onto a perfectly-placed pass from Gil and finishing past Brian Rowe for his second goal of the match.
MAN of the match
For the second time this MLS Playoffs, goals from Gustavo Bou have won the Revolution big games. The Argentine’s brace featured great link-up play with Carles Gil, a pairing that will be important for the rest of the team’s run.
moment of the match
The Revolution nearly gifted Orlando City a way back into the game when a tackle from Matt Polster on Daryl Dike granted the hosts a chance to equalize in the 73rd minute. Matt Turner’s penalty save on Nani saved his team’s 2-1 lead, securing the Revs’ spot in the Eastern Conference finals.
match to forget
Mauricio Pereyra’s studs-up tackle on Matt Polster earned the midfielder a deserved red card in the 60th minute. The midfielder’s reckless challenge reduced Orlando to 10 men with still a third of the game to play.