MLS Soccer: New England Revolution 2, D.C. United 1
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Behind second-half goals from Diego Fagundez and Lee Nguyen, the New England Revolution claimed a come-from-behind, 2-1 win over D.C. United tonight at Gillette Stadium. It was the second time this season that the Revs topped United after entering halftime down a goal, and tonight – led by Fagundez’s team-best 11th goal of the year – the Revs used the win to leapfrog back into the MLS Eastern Conference playoff picture.
With the victory, New England (11-11-7, 40 pts.) will end the night’s play no worse than fifth in the East – the final playoff spot – after entering the game in seventh place. With the loss, D.C. (3-20-6, 15 pts.) remained winless on the road this year, extending their away drought to 15 games (0-12-3) this season.
United went into halftime with a 1-0 lead, but Fagundez got the Revs on the board in the 58th minute, one minute after Nguyen had missed a penalty opportunity. Nguyen, however, got redemption in the 83rd minute when he converted his second penalty kick chance of the night, chipping D.C. keeper Bill Hamid for the 2-1 lead that New England didn’t relinquish.
Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made two changes to last week’s squad. Goalkeeper Matt Reis returned from his one-game red card suspension, while A.J. Soares slotted back in at center back after fully recovering from an ankle sprain.
D.C. got on the board in the 11th minute, but it was the Revs who scored the goal. Luis Silva threaded a chest-high cross in from the left wing, and Revs midfielder Scott Caldwell extended his leg just to intercept the ball inside the penalty area with a D.C. runner coming in on Reis. However, his touch re-directed the ball into his own goal, giving United a 1-0 lead – their first lead on the road in the 2013 season.
The teams came out of the break and the Revs had a chance to equalize in the 55th minute when Nguyen was tackled in the box by Dejan Jakovic and referee Carlos Rivera pointed immediately to the penalty spot. Nguyen stepped up for the attempt, but Hamid made the sliding save to his right to prevent the goal.
However, the Revs wasted little time after the save to find their first goal. In the 58th minute, Saer Sene threaded an inch-perfect pass through the D.C. defense to an on-running Fagundez, who slid his shot far post under Hamid to level the score at 1-1. It was Fagundez’s team-leading 11th goal of the season, further extending his MLS record for goals scored in a single season by a teenager.
Nguyen had back-to-back chances to give the Revs the lead in the 68th minute, but was stymied in both attempts. After the Dimitry Imbongo played him from the left wing, Nguyen, sitting 25 yards from goal, launched a rising shot that beat Hamid, but rocketed off the crossbar and back into play. He picked up his own deflected rebound and from 23 yards, launched another blast, but Hamid got a finger on the shot to wrap the ball around the post and out of play.
United had a strong bid to equalize in the 81st minute when Conor Doyle worked around a Revs defender and chipped Reis, who was out off his line. However, the 38-year-old keeper recovered and slid in to prevent the ball from crossing the goal line, preserving the 1-1 score line.
Two minutes later, Nguyen finally found the back of net for the go-ahead goal on the Revolution’s second penalty attempt of the evening. Lewis Neal brought Nguyen down near the right edge of the box and Rivera again pointed directly to the penalty spot. Nguyen stepped up again, and this time made no mistake, chipping the ball toward the right post as Hamid dove to his right.
The Revolution returns to action next Saturday, Sept. 28, when the team hosts the Houston Dynamo at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET, and the match will be broadcast live on TV by Comcast SportsNet and on the radio by 98.5 The Sports Hub.