The New England Revolution snapped a two-game losing streak and climbed back into MLS playoff contention with a 2-1 come-from-behind win over D.C. United at Gillette Stadium for a crowd of 19,187 on Saturday night.
New England (11-11-7, 40 pts.) climbed into the fifth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot with four games left to play in the regular season. Troubled United (3-20-6, 15 pts.) remain last in 19-team MLS and winless on the road (0-12-3) this season.
Revolution head coach Jay Heaps put two old mainstays back in the starting line-up Saturday night. Goalkeeper Matt Reis returned from a red card suspension and A.J. Soares returned to center back after recovering from an ankle sprain. Chris Tierney started his 116th game, which lifted him over Michael Parkhurst (115) and positions him at ninth in all-time starts for the Revs.
Nguyen steps up
Both teams started poorly, but D.C. United took the lead in the 11th minute, when rookie Scott Calwell scored an inexcusable own goal. Dimitry Imbongo attempted an individual game, holding the ball and wasting scoring chances instead of passing and setting up play. The sloppy play and poor possession for both sides continued well into the second half, until Lee Nguyen stepped up in the midfield and regrouped the technical attack.
United targeted the dangerous Nguyen, who won a penalty in the 57th, which United goalkeeper Bill Hamid easily saved. But one minute later, eighteen year-old Diego Fagundez scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season, assisted by Saer Sene, and leveled United 1-1. Fagundez also added six assists this season and now holds the MLS record for goals scored in a single season by a teenager.
Nguyen continued his attack on D.C. and United continued their attack on Nguyen, who won his second penalty of the night in the 83rd minute after he was taken down in the box. This time he chipped the ball over and past Hamid for his third goal of the season and the final 2-1 result.
"I think we came to the locker room (at halftime) and we all said that it’s a must-win game," said Fagundez. "We’re in the playoffs right now. This game was part of our playoff games, so it was very important. We all came out here and we knew that we had to give it everything we had, and we went out there and did everything we could, and we got results."
GK Reis remains unbeaten this season with his fourth win is now 4-0-2 with a goals against average of 0.42.
The Revolution host College Night next Saturday, Sept. 28, when the team battles 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.
DC – Own Goal (Scott Caldwell) 11
NE – Diego Fagundez (Saer Sene) 58
NE – Lee Nguyen (penalty) 83
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Chris Tierney, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, Andrew Farrell, Diego Fagundez (Andy Dorman 93+), Lee Nguyen, Scott Caldwell, Kelyn Rowe, Saer Sene (Chad Barrett 86), Dimitry Imbongo (Jerry Bengtson 79)
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Charlie Davies, Stephen McCarthy, Darrius Barnes,
STATS: Shots 22, Shots on Target 7, Corner Kicks 12, Saves 2, Fouls 13, Offsides 2, Passes 381 (77.7%), Possession 53.8%
D.C. United: Bill Hamid, Dejan Jakovic, James Riley, Ethan White, Chris Korb, John Thorrington, Luis Silva (Lewis Neal 72), Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon, Chris Pontius (Kyle Porter 80), Dwayne De Rosario (Conor Doyle 66)
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Willis, Sainey Nyassi, Collin Martin, Conor Shanosky
STATS: Shots 8, Shots on Target 2, Corner Kicks 1, Saves 5, Fouls 16, Offsides 2, Passes 321 (68.8%), Possession 46.2%
DC – Dejan Jakovic (caution) 6
NE – Jose Goncalves (caution) 28
DC – Chris Korb (caution) 33
DC – Nick DeLeon (caution) 88
NE – Chad Barrett (caution) 89
Referee: Jose Carlos Rivera
Assistant Referees: Peter Manikowski (AR1), James Conlee (AR2)
Fourth Official: Armando Villareal