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Recap: Revs II Defeat Philadelphia in Club's 1st Playoff Appearance
New England were able to edge out Union II thanks to a second half brace from Esmir Bajraktarevic and will now wait to find out their opponent for the conference semi-finals.
Revolution II returned to Gillette Stadium on Sunday night for the club’s first-ever MLS NEXT Pro play-off match, facing off against Philadelphia Union II for their fourth meeting of 2023.
A total of four changes were made to the starting eleven from New England’s last regular season game against Crown Legacy FC as Jacob Jackson, Peyton Miller, Jake Rozhansky, and Esmir Bajraktarevic returned to the line-up.
Both teams came out strong to start the match, playing physical and trading fouls and offensive attempts as they fought to find the opening goal.
It was Marcos Dias who put the Revs ahead in the 26th minute after converting from the penalty spot, just beating the Union II keeper with a well-placed shot into the bottom left of the goal. In the 56th minute Bajraktarevic doubled the host’s advantage with a strike from the top of Philadelphia’s box, curling his shot high and wide past the keeper. The assist came from Jordan Adebayo-Smith.
Bajraktarevic bagged his second goal of the night in the 64th minute off a free kick from just outside Philadelphia’s box, slotting the ball just out of the keeper’s reach and into the bottom right corner.
The Revs made their first substitution of the match in the 67th minute, replacing Bajraktarevic with Malcolm Fry. New England made a pair of substitutions in the 75th minute as Patrick Leal and Maciel entered the match for Marcos Dias and Rozhansky respectively.
Philadelphia was able to get one back in the 79th minute after defender Juan Castillo found the back of the net with a well-placed shot from the middle of New England’s box. In the 81st minute Philadelphia was awarded a penalty kick after a bad challenge from Miller inside the box. Boubacar Diallo stepped up to take the kick and was able to convert, cutting New England’s lead to one with just under ten minutes to play.
New England made their final changes of the game in the 90th minute as Olger Escobar and Tiago Suárez replaced Adebayo-Smith and Joshua Bolma.
New England came close to scoring their fourth of the night in the final moments of the game as Fry weaved past defenders to get a shot off inside of Philadelphia’s box, only for it to ricochet off the post and out of the box.
Going into the semi-finals Revolution II will face off against either New York Red Bulls II or Columbus Crew 2, depending on who Crown Legacy chooses as their opponent for their first match of the playoffs.