Special to CSNNE.com
BRADENTON, Fla. – Buoyed by Kelyn Rowe’s opportunistic first-half goal, the New England Revolution played to a 1-1 draw against defending Swedish champion Malmo FF tonight at IMG Academy Stadium.
It was the Revolution’s first preseason game in the 2014 season after the squad opened training camp last Saturday.
Rowe gave the Revs an early lead in the fifth minute when he jumped on a poor back pass and slotted a right-footed shot past Malmo goalkeeper Robin Olsen.
New England’s lead held until the 36th minute when Malmo’s Emil Forsberg leveled the score at 1-1. His initial shot beat Bobby Shuttleworth, but kicked off the post, however Forsberg was in position to deposit his rebound into an open goal.
The two teams played evenly as the second half progressed – even after the Revs made nine changes at the half – but Malmo had the best chance of the second half in the 70th minute when Pawel Cibicki’s shot rocketed off the crossbar and Erik Johansson’s follow-up sailed narrowly high.
Cibicki had another go in the 77th minute when he broke in down the left center channel, but his left-footed shot slid just wide of Shuttleworth’s goal.
Revs rookie Patrick Mullins had a chance in the 86th minute, curling a right-footed shot toward the upper corner of the goal after Jerry Bengtson played him in, but Olsen rose up to make the finger-tip save to keep the game tied at 1-1.
Pierre Omanga then had a chance in the 90th minute, but his hard-angled shot from several yards out was kick-saved by Olsen.