In a game that saw one trialist score and another deny a prime opportunity for the opposition, the New England Revolution claimed a 1-1 draw against the Philadelphia Union in a preseason scrimmage on Tuesday at Dewey O. Boster Sports Complex in Deltona, Fla.
After Union striker Jack McInerney scored the opening goal in the 44th minute, Revolution trialist Evan Melo equalized in the 60th minute. Fellow trialist Jossimar Sanchez cleared an Aaron Wheeler header off the line in the 80th minute to keep the Union from securing all three points.
Revolution coach Jay Heaps and Union coach John Hackworth agreed to play the scrimmage in three, 30-minute segments in order to allow for wholesale substitutions.
The Union sprang to life early when Conor Casey tested goalkeeper Brad Knighton, who made his preseason debut on Tuesday, on a breakaway chance. But the sixth-year keeper stood his ground to deny the imposing striker in the seventh minute.
New England found a trio of chances in rapid succession shortly after the half-hour mark. Marko Perovic fired a shot that forced a save from first overall pick Andre Blake in the 32nd minute, while Jerry Bengtson tested the rookie keeper two minutes later. In the 36th minute, Patrick Mullins lifted a Kelyn Rowe free kick just above the bar.
While the Revolution may have been wasteful with their chances, Philadelphia wouldn’t be denied in the 44th minute. McInerney grabbed a pass from Michael Lahoud and slotted it through for the opening salvo.
The Revolution retaliated not long after. Donnie Smith threaded a cross inside the area for Melo, who brought it down before beating Blake at the hour mark.
Knighton’s heroics were needed again in the 73rd minute when he made a quick save on a dangerous header from Wheeler. Minutes later, Sanchez, a 2013 Supplemental selection, banished a second Wheeler header off the line to keep the scoreline intact.
New England (0-0-2) returns to action at 3pm on Thursday against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) at IMG Academy before departing for Foxborough on Friday. Philadelphia (0-0-1) is scheduled to play its next preseason match at 6pm on Feb. 19 against Orlando City (USL-PRO) at Disney Wide World of Sports.
NOTES: The Revolution used 21 players in Tuesday’s scrimmage, while the Union spread playing time among 32 players…Revolution right back Andrew Farrell found himself outside of his customary spot for the second straight game. On Tuesday, he started the game at defensive midfielder before dropping to center back in the second period. In last week’s preseason opener, Farrell featured as one of the team’s two center backs…Revolution midfielder Diego Fagundez was unavailable after suffering a concussion in training…Other Revoltion players who missed Tuesday’s match: Charlie Davies (calf), Stephen McCarthy (groin), Steve Neumann (ankle), Saer Sene (ankle), Chris Tierney (foot)…The Revolution debuted their new gray training jerseys for the scrimmage….