The New England Revolution fell one game short of representing the Eastern Conference in last season’s MLS Cup Final and now the goal will be to get over that hump in 2021. For the Revs to be a title contender this season, striker Adam Buksa will have to have similar outings like he did in Saturday’s season opener.
Buksa scored his first goal of the new season, sparking the Revs to earn a 2-2 draw with the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field. Not only did Buksa show off his ability in the air and in the box with a nifty header, but he helped start the turnaround for the Revs after a sloppy start on the road.
“He’s a handful,” said Revs centerback and captain Andrew Farrell. “I think he really came in sharp this year, is a big threat on set pieces, but also his holdup play was really great for us. Him and Gustavo [Bou] did a very good job holding the ball up for us at times, and causing havoc for their center backs and defenders.”
“It was a better start this year than last year,” Revs head coach Bruce Arena said about Buksa. “He got us an important goal, he battled hard on the night, and I think we’ve seen some improvement out of Adam.”
The visitors pull one back!
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 18, 2021
After falling behind 2-0 in the opening 11 minutes, the Revolution did well to get themselves back into the match. Buksa rose highest on a corner kick from Carles Gil and powered his header past Bobby Shuttlesworth and into the back of the net.
The Revs would score a second goal in the first-half, thanks to Gustavo Bou’s finish, and eventual walked out of Chicago with one road point. Buksa’s mix of physicality and strength makes him one of the toughest strikers to deal with in MLS, a theme plenty of the league’s defenders saw in his arrival last season.
Now he hopes to build off his opening day performance and be a key piece of the Revs attack again.
“Carles is a quality player and I understand him very well,” said Buksa. “I can expect from him to get great balls from corners, from free kicks, and that’s what he did today. My job is to finish that off. I hope that he’ll have a lot of assists throughout the season and I’ll be the one who’ll have a lot of goals coming from his passes.”
“In the second part of the first half we I think responded well. We scored two goals and we could’ve scored a third one, so it was a good part. Then in the second half, obviously it was a 50-50 game. It could have gone both ways. I think that a draw is a fair result for today. It wasn’t our best game overall, but we need to respect the one point.”
Buksa delivered six goals and two assists in 27 combined league outings last season, finishing third on the team in goals scored and sixth in assists after a lengthy career in Europe. Now with one goal scored in an 84-minute shift on Saturday, the Polish striker is in good standings to top his statistics from a season ago.
After overcoming dry scoring spells as a new player in the league last season, Buksa feels he is confident as the Revs aim to end 2021 with a trophy in hand.
“I don’t like the word that I was struggling last season – I don’t agree with that,” Buksa said in response to a question about his 2020 performance. “Obviously I’m happy to have scored the goal and I think I played a good game, but it’s a natural process and I expected to start better this season, but it’s a process. It’s nothing new, and nothing unexpected.”
“I think I’m in a good spot and I hope to be getting better and better every game.”