Revolution Draw With Atlanta Thanks to Turner Heroics

Photo: David Silverman/revolutionsoccer.net

The New England Revolution earned a 1-1 draw against Atlanta United thanks to a late penalty and a fantastic performance from Matt Turner.

Atlanta entered the game atop the Eastern Conference standings and as one the of the hottest teams in the league thanks to their deadly three-pronged attack of Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron, and Eziquel Barco. It was this trio that made the Revolution pay early on in the match.

Martinez opened the scoring in the 23rd minute of the game following a poor defensive play by the Revolution. Julian Gressel received a pass from Darlington Nagbe along the right wing and played a ball directly into the box to set up the goal. No Revolution defenders challenged for the ball which gave a wide open Martinez an uncontested look at the goal, which he shot passed Turner with ease.

Right before the stroke of halftime, veteran left back Chris Tierney went down with a non-contact injury and was replaced by Gabriel Somi. No update has been given on Tierney’s condition, but head coach Brad Friedel said in the postgame press conference that the injury does not look great at the moment.

Heading into the second half, the Revolution’s defensive woes continued but Atlanta failed to make them pay for their mistakes. This was due mostly in part to a terrific outing from Turner, who ended the night with five saves. The most crucial of these saves came in the 82nd minute when Barco fired a shot on goal after a give and go with Romario Williams that Turner palmed onto the bar.

The Revolution drew level with Atlanta in the 88th minute after Teal Bunbury converted a penalty to the top right corner of the goal just past the outstretched arms of Brad Guzan. Krisztián Németh earned the penalty for the Revolution after his legs were taken out by Atlanta substitute Kevin Kratz.

 

Turner made yet another key save in stoppage time after Williams fired a shot from close range off of a great feed from Barco. New England threatened the goal late in the game with two corners but failed to take home all three points.

Takeaways

Defense needs improvement- Coming off the heels of a 3-3 draw with Vancouver that saw the Revolution blow a two-goal lead, the New England defense needed a statement performance. However, in this game, they fell short yet again. While Antonio Delamea and Jalil Anibaba did make so solid plays in this game, Atlanta’s front three ran riot on the Revolution’s backline and they would have run up the score if not for Turner’s heroics. Defense was the biggest woe for last year’s Revolution side and if they aren’t careful, history could repeat itself this season.

Bunbury in fine form- With his seventh goal in his last 10 games, Teal Bunbury is in some of the finest form of his career. With Juan Agudelo still out due to injury and Nemeth being lackluster at the front of attack, Bunbury is the sole reliable striker in New England’s attack. With all this considered, don’t expect to see Bunbury on the bench anytime soon.

Tierney injury puts pressure on Somi- Gabriel Somi has been one of the most criticized players for the Revolution this season. While he can provide promise on the attacking end, Somi has proven to be a liability on the defensive side of the ball. With fellow left back Chris Tierney, who started over Somi after his poor performance in Vancouver, out with an injury believed to be serious, the pressure is on Somi to prove why he deserves to be a starter in the Revolution squad. If his form continues to suffer and Tierney is out long-term, Kelyn Rowe may find himself back in the left back position going forward.

Looking Ahead

The Revolution are sixth in the Eastern Conference with 19 points. They next face off against the New York Red Bulls on June 2 in Foxboro at 7:30 p.m.

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Kyle Bray is the Editor in Chief at Prime Time Sports Talk and a freshman journalism major at Emerson College. He also serves as the sports editor for the Bay State Herald and the deputy sports editor for The Berkeley Beacon. Aside from his editing duties at Prime Time Sports Talk, he is the lead New England Revolution writer, the Holy Cross Men's Basketball reporter, and is a member of the Prime Time Sports Talk radio team. He grew up just outside of Boston and has been a Boston sports fan all his life.

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