The match opened with New England pressing forward down the right side. Juan Agudelo slipped past Kai Wagner and the ball landed on the foot of the Revs’ most dangerous man, Carles Gil. The captain’s couldn’t finish, but it was a hint of what was to come from the home side.
In the 12th minute, Cristian Penilla fought up the left side of the box, breaking through tackles before putting a ball across the box that flew over the head of Teal Bunbury.
Brenden Aaronson combined with Sergio Santos soon after on the left, but an arm to the face brought down the young attacker. On the ensuing free kick, Brad Knighton rose to snag Haris Medunjanin’s free kick.
Next it was Kacper Przybylko’s turn to get involved. A long pass gave the big strike a one on one battle up front, and he won it before turning toward goal and ripping a left-footed shot just wide of the frame.
Przybylko was back on the ball in the 21st minute when Aaronson sent him through down the left channel. He couldn’t find Santos with a ball across the box, though, and New England cleared the danger.
In a consistently ugly match, Philadelphia continued creating half-chances, but Knighton felt safe in net. Jamiro Monteiro snuck a free kick past the wall on the ground from 28 yards out, but Medunjanin couldn’t control the ball and it drifted past Auston Trusty near the endline.
The best chance of the half came in the 27th minute when Wagner found Santos breaking into the box, but the striker lifted his first timer over the goal.
The gameplan for New England was clear: Find Carles Gil in transition. The playmaker was wonderful at moving into spaces and opening up the Union back line.
The big breakthrough for the Revs came through their Designated Player, but not from open play. Gil’s corner went front post to right back Brandon Bye who flipped it over Matt Freese’s left shoulder.
Coming out of halftime down a goal, Jim Curtin pulled off Brenden Aaronson and turned to Ilsinho for a spark. Off a quick restart, the Brazilian twisted his man in knots and centered but couldn’t find a finisher. Santos followed soon after with a move to the endline, but he put the ball between Ilsinho and Przybylko.
In the 52nd minute, Ale Bedoya ran onto a ball in the box after Monteiro pushed the ball past Sergio Santos. The captain’s shot was off the right post, but the offsides flag went up soon after.
Replays showed, however, that Bedoya was onside.
Fafa Picault replaced Santos as the Union leaned into a 4-2-3-1 shape and sought to find their wingers in space. Over and over, they pinned back the tired Revs, but no breakthrough was forthcoming.
Finally, in the 84th minute, Fafa Picault took matters into his own hands. After Jack Elliott’s long ball forward found Bedoya and the captain cut inside, Picault ran onto the loose ball and turned on the jets. He disappeared through the New England defense before lacing a cross back across goal. Przybylko was following the play and knocked it home from inside the six yard box to even the scoreline.
Both Picault and Przybylko continued to push for a winner. In the 89th minute, Picault’s shot from distance was covered by Knighton, and in the 91st Przybylko broke through but couldn’t cut around the recovering Revs defense in the box.
The draw keeps Philadelphia in first place in the Eastern Conference with a showdown at New York City FC looming on Saturday night.