Revolution advance to Eastern Conference final with a 3-1 win at Orlando

The New England Revolution were a dominant road team in the regular season and that proclivity has carried over into the postseason.
The No. 8 seed Revolution captured their third playoff win and second on the road with a 3-1 victory over No. 4 Orlando City SC in the Eastern Conference semifinal on Sunday at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla.
Forward Gustavo Bou provided the firepower with a brace while Revolution head coach Bruce Arena extended his MLS record for playoff wins to 35.
The Revs will play in the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 2014 and will play at No. 3 Columbus on Dec. 6. The Crew defeated Nashville, 2-0, after extra time in Sunday’s other semifinal.
“It wasn’t pretty, we had to work really hard and that was a real good team we played today,” said Arena. “That may be the best team we faced this year and it was a great win.”
The Revolution led 2-1 at halftime, and went up a man in the 60th minute when referee Alex Chilowicz issued a red card to Orlando midfielder Mauricio Pereyra for a studs up challenge into the calf of Revs defender Matt Polster. Nani picked up a yellow card during the ensuing fracas that featured some angry pushing and shoving between the opposing players.
While Orlando was playing shorthanded for the rest of the game, it did have a golden opportunity to tie the game as Chilowicz awarded the Lions a penalty kick when Polster pulled down Daryl Dike in the box. Matt Turner, the Revolution’s player of the year, made the save of the season to deny Nani from the spot in the 74th minute. Turner dove to his right to deflect the shot away.
“It’s knowing the shooters, understanding their run ups and knowing how long to wait and the telltale signs before their run ups,” said Turner. “It’s all stuff you look at but I picked my side early and went as hard as I could.”
Revs playmaker Carles Gil set up Bou for the insurance goal in the 86th minute. Gil got possession in the midfield and fed a lead pass to Bou, who casually slipped it past a charging Orlando goalkeeper Brian Rowe from the top of the box for his third of the playoffs. Rowe started in place of suspended keeper Pedro Gallese.
“Obviously that last goal was a special goal,” said Arena. “Brandon Bye won a header there that allowed us to control the ball and the pass from Carles to Gustavo was outstanding.
“Gustavo, I think just toe poked it by the goalkeeper.”
For the second time in as many games, the Revs jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half.
Revolution right back Tajon Buchanan’s extraordinary ball skills in the penalty area drew a penalty kick in the 17th minute. Buchanan touched the ball past Junior Urso and another to get by midfielder Uri Roseil, who tripped up Buchanan, prompting Chilowicz to award the Revolution a penalty kick.
Gil stepped up and the cagy attacking midfielder delivered. Gil head faked Rowe to the far post and spiked the ball straight down Broadway for a 1-0 lead.
“He is technically very good and he is experienced and he’s got composure,” said Arena. “He’s made (penalty kicks) in some big moments so obviously he’s our choice if he’s on the field to take a penalty kick.”
The Revs weathered Orlando’s retaliatory response and went up 2-0 in the 25th minute on a play set in motion by Buchanan in the New England end. Buchanan forced a turnover and fed Gil on a transition break. Gil led Buchanan down the right flank and he crossed the ball into the scoring area. Buksa’s sliding kick went off the post, but Bou buried the rebound.
Orlando made it 2-1 with a magnificent collaboration in the 33rd minute. Nani lofted the ball to Chris Mueller in the scoring area behind the Revs back wall with Turner unable to corral the ball or Henry Kessler failing to clear it. Mueller pitched the ball back to Urso, who buried the chance.
“We gifted them a goal and it was a really poor play by I think by Henry (Kessler) and Matt,” said Arena. “That ball needed to be cleared and we should have gone in 2-0 at the half.”

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