Photo by USA Today Sports Images
By CARL SETTERLUND
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — For the first time in six matches, New England Revolution coach Jay Heaps didn’t start Charlie Davies and Davies let him know about it.
On the field, that is.
Davies subbed on in the 58th minute and just two minutes later was crossing up Chicago Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson for the winner as the Revs held on for a 2-1 victory at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, their second straight week overcoming an early deficit to claim the full three points.
“That was my job, to come on to the field and change the game,” Davies said. “I wanted to make an immediate impact and I was fortunate enough to have Jermaine (Jones) play a great ball in.”
The goal came on a beautiful end-to-end sequence as Jose Goncalves made a tackle on Fire goal scorer Sanna Nyassi and just 14 seconds later the ball had moved 100 yards on the ground into the back of the goal. Jones carried the ball through the middle third and then played Davies through for a tearing run that ended with him beating Johnson on a low shot inside the far left post.
“I think he wanted to start tonight, there’s no question about it,” Heaps said. “My staff and I just felt tonight was going to be one of those games where later in the game, his speed was going to make a difference.”
The win is the fourth in a row for the streaky Revolution (12-12-3), who have only lost one of their last seven matches after dropping eight straight during the summer. They’ll welcome the Montreal Impact to Foxboro next Saturday looking to match their previous season-high of five straight wins.
The match started off promisingly for the Fire (5-7-14) as Nyassi had a trio of early opportunities, one of which led to a goal in the 28th minute. Nyassi got lost between two Revs defenders and headed Quincy Amarikwa’s left side service past Bobby Shuttleworth.
The Revolution were able to equalize in the 41st minute with a header of their own as the slumping Diego Fagundez got on the end of a cross from Lee Nguyen to head home at the far left post. The goal was the fifth of the season for Fagundez, but his first since May.
“I just went out there trying to do everything I could to prove to the coaches and the players that I’m good enough to be there,” said Fagundez, who had been a late substitute the previous two games.
Jones went 90 minutes for the first time in MLS, partnering with Nguyen in central midfield. The duo showed how dangerous it can be together, with Jones and Nguyen both picking up an assist.
Johnson made four saves for the Fire, but it wasn’t enough as Chicago failed to put a shot on target after Nyassi’s opener due in part to the sturdy play of New England’s back line.
“Two games in a row we’ve given up the first goal, but our reactions have been really good,” said Heaps, mentioning the dependability of Goncalves and A.J. Soares at centerback.
The Fire will look to get back on track next Saturday when they host Toronto FC.
Here are the match highlights:
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