Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By CARL SETTERLUND
FOXBORO, Mass. — Although winning streaks are undoubtedly more challenging, there’s a reason why there’s something impressive in its own right about long losing streaks — because every once in a while the breaks fall like they did for the New England Revolution on Wednesday night.
The Revolution kept their eight-game losing streak from spilling over into a fourth month with a 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids in front of 13,831 at Gillette Stadium. An own goal by Colorado Rapids defender Drew Moor in the 10th minute gave the Revs a rare early lead. Late strikes from Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe secured the win.
It was the team’s first win since May 24.
“It’s been a tough stretch, obviously,” said Revs coach Jay Heaps. “I felt that, to be honest with you, the let-down from Saturday was big and so I’m proud of our guys for the quick turnaround.”
New England lost to the Columbus Crew on Saturday thanks to a late Ethan Finlay strike.
Nguyen, who leads New England (8-11-2, 26 points) in scoring this season with seven goals, played a part in all three scores on Wednesday. Nguyen had the shot on Moor’s own goal, scored on a free kick from the edge of the box in the 75th minute, and then set up Rowe’s tally three minutes after that.
“Lee is, for me, one of the best players in his position in the league,” Heaps said. “I think when he’s playing well, he’s leading the attack in the other team’s half. He’s not dropping back too deep. He’s getting the ball in advanced positions and he’s running at teams because he has that innate ability to find the open guy or take the shot himself. He set up Kelyn perfectly.”
It was still a skillful buildup on the own goal, which came off a left side throw-in by Kevin Alston around midfield. Charlie Davies fed the ball centrally to Nguyen, who held off three Rapids players and shot across his body, trying to sneak it inside the left post. The shot appeared headed for the woodwork, but Moor redirected it into goal.
The Rapids almost had a second own goal in the 72nd minute when Colorado keeper Clint Irwin sent a dropkick off the backside of Patrick Mullins and back toward goal. Irwin rushed back and dove to sweep it away, but it looked like the ball had already crossed the goal line. The play was waved off, however, and Mullins was yellow carded for interference.
The momentum had already turned in New England’s favor by that point, however, and it only increased in the 74th minute when Steve Neummann drew a foul on Thomas Piermayr at the end of the box, resulting in Piermayr’s second booking and also setting up Nguyen’s goal.
Nguyen caught Irwin leaning toward the right post and curled an inspired shot inside the the upper left corner to give the Revs a 2-0 lead and further deflate the 10-man Rapids.
“It definitely looked like there was a team playing with a greater purpose tonight,” Rapids coach Pablo Mastroeni said. “On the front foot, just imposing themselves, early and often in the game, set the tone. These guys were hungry and we were late to the dance tonight.”
Three points became all but certain in the 78th minute on some efficient ball movement downfield as Nguyen found Rowe with a through ball on the ground. A bisecting run by Neumann pulled one defender with him, and Rowe did the rest, sweeping a shot into the upper left side of goal from 15 yards out.
“It was one of those games we couldn’t let get away from us,” Rowe said. “We’ve been there and we know we are going to have to fight for the three points. We knew they were going to come out and fight so we just had to come out in the second half and make sure we really zoned in.”
Revs keeper Bobby Shuttleworth broke an eight-game streak of his own, making three saves to pocket his first clean sheet since May 11.
Both teams will be back in action on Saturday. New England visits the New York Red Bulls, while Colorado (8-7-6, 30 points) hosts Real Salt Lake.
“Everything from the preparation, the mindset, the desire to compete – none of it was there from top to bottom today,” Mastroeni said. “We just have to take our lumps and move on.”
Here are the match highlights:
What did you think of the match? Impressed by Lee Nguyen’s performance? Did New England earn the streak-busting win or did they get some good fortune via Colorado?
Share you thoughts below…