Gillette Stadium—Queretaro FC of LIGA MX outscored the New England Revolution 4-2 in penalty kicks in a 1-1 Leagues Cup round of 16 match at on Monday night at Gillette Stadium.
The Revolution bowed out of Leagues Cup play at 2-0-2 and resume MLS play on Aug. 16 Nashville FC. Queretaro advanced to the quarterfinals and will play at either at the Philadelphia Union or Red Bulls New York. Queretaro goalkeeper Fernando Tapia made overtime stops on Nacho Gil and Ian Hawkes to secure the win.
Revolution interim head coach Richie Williams was the field manager of record for the second straight Leagues Cup match. Revolution head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena is on indefinite administrative leave pending an investigation my for making “insensitive and inappropriate remarks.”
“Everybody is disappointed, we wanted to advance,” said Williams. “We are professional players and professional coaches and every time we step on the field we want to win.”
Revolution 2021 league MVP Carles Gil took a shot to the knee in the second half against Atlas and did not dress. Forwards Gustavo Bou, who scored both goals against Atlas, and Bobby Wood also did not dress leaving Giacomo Vrioni the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 scheme.
Queretaro went up 1-0 on a long-distance pass from Pablo Barrera to striker Jamie Gomez in the 46th minute. Barrera gained possession on the right half of the field and kicked a rainbow floater into the penalty area. Gomez got behind center back Dave Romney and headed the ball by Petrovic.
The Revolution tied the match on a goal by Esmir Bajraktarevic in the 78th minute. Midfielder Matt Polster got the ball at the top of the box and found Bajraktarevic opened. Bajraktarevic shifted to his left foot and beat Tapia to the far post. Then the Revolution dropped the shootout as Nacho Gil and Ian Harkes had attempts saved by Fernando Tapia.
“It is always easier when you have another striker next to you,” said Williams. “We were just running low on strikers because of injuries and I think Giacomo does play better with two forwards.”
All-Star keeper Djordje Petrovic was back between the poles while Ryan Spaulding started at left back in place of Brandon Bye, who tore the ACL in his right knee in the 49th minute against Atlas.
The Revolution possessed the ball 60% of the time and made 273 passes, but the first half ended scoreless.
The Revolution (1-0-3 in Leagues Cup) went to penalty kicks for the third time in the tournament, involving MLS and Liga MX teams, losing twice, this time by a 4-3 score.
Game Strategy: the Revolution opened in a 4-2-3-1 setup, with Harkes in Carles Gil’s usual role, and Vrioni as a lone striker. Buck seemed out of position on the right wing. Without Brandon Bye (season-ending knee injury), Jones moved to right back, and Ryan Spaulding starting at left back. The Revolution attack stalled as Vrioni was left isolated up front, barely involved in the action. Bajraktarevic, Nacho Gil, and Damian Rivera sparked the Revolution as second half substitutes.
Statistical analysis: The Revolution had 65 percent possession, as Queretaro mostly defended and counterattacked. The Revolution produced six of their seven corners in the final 19 minutes.