The New England Revolution couldn't hold on to a first-half lead, and had numerous chances to break a 1-1 tie against Chicago Fire FC on Saturday afternoon in their home opener as both sides settled with a tie.
Matt Turner was unable to start in goal for the Revolution after being labeled week-to-week with a knee injury. That gave Brad Knighton the start -- and he did not disappoint.
Knighton and the defense held down the fort on the back end, and that gave striker Adam Buksa the opportunity to flourish on the attack and put the Revs up 1-0 with a gorgeous left-footed strike in the 28th minute -- his first goal as a member of the Revolution.
"I'm very happy to have scored a goal, especially in front of our fans at Gillette Stadium," Buksa said after the match. "I think it was a nice goal. I had to come to the ball and take it and I scored through on the further post."
Throughout the majority of the first half, the Revolution dominated. They managed to produce three shots on goalie Kenneth Kronholm while holding the Fire to just two shots on goal. They blocked four of Chicago's seven attempts.
Cristian Penilla was able to help New England on a few of those shots, with an ankle-breaking move on the Fire defender to move the ball up the edge of the field and create space for a strong offensive opportunity.
Although they outplayed the Fire, the Revs allowed Chicago to score the equalizer in the 70th minute off a Jonathan Bornstein header.
🔥 HERE'S JONNY 🔥 pic.twitter.com/sWyQs2OP0y— Chicago Fire FC (@ChicagoFire) March 7, 2020
While they had many chances to break the deadlock, the Revolution just couldn't find the tiebreaker and missed an opportunity to come away with three points.
Head coach Bruce Arena thought his club was much better than they were in their season-opening, 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact last week.
"Two weeks in a row we've failed to capitalize on some pretty good opportunities," Arena said after the game Saturday. "I think it was a really sloppy game. The conditions were difficult with the wind on an artificial field. The ball was difficult to control by both teams. I thought on the day our passing just wasn't good enough and yet we did create enough chances to get the second goal and perhaps steal three points, but we didn't get it done. I thought we did a better job collectively in defending. We created more chances this week than we did last week."
One player who stood on defense for the Revs was rookie Henry Kessler. And although he picked up a yellow card in the first half, Arena thought Kessler was much better than in his Revolution debut.
"I agree. First half a few mistakes," Arena said of the 21-year-old. "I thought he dropped off the line a little early and picked up a caution, which you never like to see out of your center back in the first half, but I thought the second half he played quite well and he's the one that played the ball at the end of the game to Bye that created the goal-scoring opportunity for Rennicks. Overall, Henry [Kessler] had another good game."
Here are the full game highlights:
The game could've been much different if Carles Gil, out with an undisclosed injury, was in the Revs lineup. However, Arena said he thought Buksa and Gustavo Bou are creating some nice chemistry up front.
"I think so. I think once we get Carles Gil back it's going to look a heck of a lot better," Arena said. "We'll be a more dangerous team because we need some better passing in the last part of the field and Carles [Gil] certainly gives us that. He's back on the field so we hope to get him back soon."
The Revs (0-1-1) will host the Portland Timbers next Sunday at 1:30 p.m. ET.