The New England Revolution, a team that didn’t find the back of the net until their fourth outing, has now scored 10 goals in two games. The most recent outpouring came on Saturday night when the Revs defeated the Philadelphia Union 5-3.
Head coach Jay Heaps praised his team’s balanced attack in the post-game teleconference. Saturday’s game featured goals from AJ Soares, Diego Fagundez, Lee Nguyen, Chris Tierney and Patrick Mullins. The game serves as a microcosm of the Revolution’s season as they have gotten tallies from six different players and assists from seven different players.
Perhaps foreshadowing the action that would occur later, both teams had solid chances during the game’s opening minutes. Sharp interplay from the Revs provided Nguyen with a chance that he sent sailing over the net from 12 yards out. Moments later, Sheanon Williams sent in a free kick that forced Brad Knighton to make a spectacular save on an Andrew Wenger header.
Knighton, who ended the night with four saves, received the start after Bobby Shuttleworth suffered a concussion on Thursday. Despite the late notice, Knighton performed well.
“I thought Brad was really good,” Heaps stated. “Being able to step in with very little notice was excellent on his part. Bobby took an unfortunate knock in training on Thursday and to be smart and to be safe [we went with Brad].”
The Revs would gain the lead in the 12th minute after Bunbury was fouled outside the box. Tierney stepped up to take the kick with Soares finishing the chance to score his first of the year.
Fagundez would double the lead 14 minutes later. The play began when Nguyen fired a long ball forward that Bunbury collected and pushed back to a forthcoming Fagundez. The Massachusetts native used a left-footed shot to deceive Zac MacMath and score his third goal in two games.
The Union grabbed a goal in the 36th minute after the Revs failed to clear a long throw-in. Danny Cruz settled the bouncing ball by offering a one-touch assist to Vincent Nogueria. The midfielder hit a long-range effort past a helpless Knighton.
The Revolution regained momentum after the break as Fagundez had back-to-back opportunities. Although the teenager would be unable to break through, Nguyen would find the back of the net in the 49th minute. Daigo Kobayashi played helper on the play with a slicing pass for his third assist of the campaign.
The Revs weren’t done as they added a fourth goal in the 57th minute. The team was presented with a free kick from 22 yards out. Although Fagundez and Nguyen would stand over the ball, it was Tierney that took the kick. The left-footed shot sailed into the back of the net to increase the lead.
“I think Chris really stepped up huge,” Heaps said. “I thought the ball was perfectly served for AJ and the set piece on the free kick was almost un-savable, just where he put it was perfect.”
The final Revolution tally came in the 67th minute. Substitute Scott Caldwell forced a turnover to put Fagundez and Mullins in on goal. The two attackers issued a series of passes before Mullins took a low shot to score his third goal in as many games.
The Union continued to fight despite the large deficit and their efforts were rewarded with two late goals. The first came in the 76th minute when Williams pushed in a ball that was headed down by Andrew Wenger.
The next goal was a bit more controversial. Andrew Farrell was deemed to have taken down Andrew Hoppenot in the box which led to the referee pointing to the penalty spot during stoppage time. Sebastien Le Toux finished the chance, increasing his career stats to 9-for-9 from the spot.
Although Heaps is happy that his offense is clicking, he hopes his team starts to do a better job of closing down the game.
“You’re not going to score many 5 goal games, so you have to take it in stride,” Heaps said. “When we really get to opening teams up, I think they sense that we can play, we can put chances away. One of thing that we want to get better at is that we want to be open, but we want to be able to close it.”
The Revs return to action next Saturday when they host DC United.
(Image courtesy of Kari Heistad)