FOXBOROUGH – Sitting nine points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot and coming off a four-game losing streak, it was put up or shut up time for the New England Revolution in front of a season-high crowd of 27,441 against the LA Galaxy at Gillette Stadium on Saturday.
After scoring for the first time in nearly a year in the Revs’ last game, substitute Teal Bunbury struck again with goals in the 70th and 73rd minutes, notching his first brace since May 2012 to boost the Revolution to a 4-3 victory they had to have.
The Revs (6-9-5) went up in the 16th minute on a long through pass from Diego Fagundez that initially looked headed for Kelyn Rowe before he and Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme got tangled up at the edge of the box. Lee Nguyen took advantage, swooping in to send home a low diagonal shot from left of goal that deflected off of Daniel Steres and past Galaxy keeper Brian Rowe.
Steres got redemption in the in the 22nd minute after the Revs gave Romain Allessandrini too much space to work with on the left wing. He served in a short cross that Steres came swooping in to head home from six yards out at the near post as the Galaxy (6-10-4) leveled the score at 1-1.
The hosts went back in front in the 34th minute after three defenders collapsed on Fagundez and he threaded the ball through to Kei Kamara right of goal. Kamara took one touch and then fired a shot past Rowe inside the near post to give the Revs a 2-1 lead at halftime.
Steres again tied it up in the 53rd minute as Revolution goalie Brad Knighton made the initial save on a header by Dave Romney, but he parried straight to the Galaxy center back Steres to head home.
Bunbury subbed on in the 65th minute and quickly made an impact as he came flying in to head in a right side cross from Kelyn Rowe on the counterattack in the 70th minute, and then pushed the lead to 4-2 on a side-footed shot from right around the penalty spot three minutes later.
The Revs would end up needing that fourth goal as the Galaxy’s Ariel Lassiter pulled it back to a one-goal game in the 78th minute after the Revs again couldn’t clear the ball following a Knighton save.
New England will be back at home next Saturday at 7:30 p.m., hosting a ninth-place Philadelphia Union team that they’ll be looking to leapfrog in the standings. Meanwhile, the Galaxy will head back to the StubHub Center and look to improve their home woes against the Seattle Sounders.
MAN OF THE MATCH
It seemed that Bunbury was starting to fade out of the Revs rotation, but Juan Agudelo’s absence with the U.S. Men’s National Team gave him a window to prove himself, and the 27-year-old took advantage. Bunbury came on with the match tied at 2-2 and made the difference for the Revs.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Bunbury’s 73rd minute tally ended up being the winner, but it was his first goal that breathed life back into the Revs. The way Bunbury came tearing into the box gave the impression he was getting onto the end of Rowe’s cross no matter what. The Revs couldn’t afford to lose this game, or even came away with one point, and Bunbury brought the right attitude and executed in a big moment.
MATCH TO FORGET
Both defenses performed pretty poorly. The Revs’ set piece defense and ability to clear the ball away from danger was not up to par, while the Galaxy keeper Rowe only saved two of six shots on goal.