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MLS friendlies at IMG Academy kick off; New England Revolution battles Sweden’s Malmö FF to 1-1 draw

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BRADENTON, Fla. – Major League Soccer preseason friendlies kicked off at IMG Academy tonight when the New England Revolution took on Malmö FF of Allsvenskan, Sweden’s top league. The game got off to a quick start when New England’s Kelyn Rowe scored in the fourth minute off a turnover. Malmö answered in the 36th minute when Emil Forsberg took a shot off post for an easy score. However, neither team could find the back of the net in the second half in spite of several close calls, and the game ended in a 1-1 draw.

“I think this is a good first step for our team… some positives, some negatives; we’re still only in the first week of training here – I think we showed good fight,” remarked New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttlesworth after recording three saves on the night. “I had a couple of saves in the first half, but tonight I think the back line did a great job of staying organized in the first preseason game, and I thought we did a pretty good job of staying in our lines and getting good pressure on the ball and made it difficult for them.”

New England entered the match building off a strong finish in 2013 that saw them reach the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and reach the Eastern Conference semifinals. Facing Malmö FF was no easy task, with the Swedish squad coming off a first place finish in Allsvenskan in 2013 and having won the Svenska Supercupen with a 19-5-6 overall record.

The action continues on Wednesday, Feb. 5 with a doubleheader at IMG Academy Stadium when the Columbus Crew faces Malmö FF at 3:30 p.m., followed immediately by Toronto FC taking on D.C. United at 7:00 p.m.