Photo by Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports
By CARL SETTERLUND
FOXBOROUGH — It seems like nothing can stop the New England Revolution right now.
The Revolution fell behind early for a third consecutive game, but as in the previous two they came storming back, getting goals from Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen two minutes apart to rally past the Montreal Impact, 2-1, in front of a reported attendance of 19,665 at rainy Gillette Stadium.
“There’s always that belief,” Nguyen said of the Revs’ current sky-high confidence. “That’s what’s great about this team. We’ve shown that we can come back from a goal.”
It was the fifth straight win for the Revolution (13-12-3) who have gone from also-ran to Eastern Conference contender over the past month, largely behind the play of Nguyen, who has scored five of his team-leading 13 goals during that stretch. He also tallied his MLS-best seventh game-winner.
“I mean, he’s special. Look what he did again,” Revs coach Jay Heaps said. “In terms of seeing the game and understanding it right now, he’s reading it really well (and) playing really well.”
Although the Impact (5-17-6) still sport the worst record in the league, they’ve been a handful since Ignacio Piatti debuted in mid-August. However, Impact coach Frank Klopas left both Piatti and Marco Di Vaio on the bench as unused substitutes in a stroke of good fortune for the Revs.
Long since out of the playoff race, Klopas withheld both players for the Impact’s midweek CONCACAF Champions League match at home against the New York Red Bulls. The result of that game will likely decide the winner of Group 3 and which of the two moves on to the knockout stage.
“I know we’re going to be ready because we know how important this next game is. For us, the season is not over,” Klopas said. “Come Wednesday, the 11 players that are out there will be ready because they know how important this game is for us.”
At first, it looked as though the Impact might be able to do without Piatti and Di Vaio.
Revs right back Andrew Farrell tripped over his feet in the 13th minute as he chased down Jack McInerney in the box, forcing goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth off his line. McInerney sent a calm pass to the middle and Calum Mallace finished into an open net to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Revolution would only trail for 10 minutes, though, as they also took advantage of a defensive miscue. Rowe grabbed hold of a failed clearance and unleashed a laser from 30 yards.
Goalie Troy Perkins (8 saves) — who otherwise had a strong night — couldn’t handle the heat as Rowe’s shot went off him and in to level the score at 1-1.
“He’ll shoot from everywhere,” Heaps said. “Kelyn has a cannon. He shoots the heck out of the ball.”
Two minutes later, Nguyen, Jermaine Jones and Charlie Davies joined forces on an inventive combination as the former sent a back heel to Jones and then later got it back. Davies got up to headed Jones’ chip onward into the box where Nguyen regained possession, convincing Perkins to go to ground and then chipping it over him for the 25th-minute winner.
“I played it back to Jermaine, he played a great little dink to Charlie and Charlie did a great job to get above Futty (Danso) and get a flick on,” Nguyen said. “I guess on the wet surface it took a little fortunate hop for me and I was able to get around Perkins and luckily the dink worked.”
It wasn’t all good new for the Revs, however, as Jones would come off at halftime with what Heaps described as a left foot contusion. Jones was seen after the game with a boot on his foot, but said that he already had X-rays done and they came back negative.
“I’m not the guy normally to say something – I play hard, too – so I can take it. But this guy today, he was not nice,” Jones said. “If he had tried to get the ball, I wouldn’t have said anything. But he tried two times – the first time the referee called him back and the second time, he had no chance of getting the ball so he got me right on the bone.”
Jones declined to identify the player in question, although he was the recipient of a 22nd-minute foul by Mallace.
Here are the match highlights:
What impressed you about the Revs win? What’s been behind New England’s recent resurgence? What are you expecting from Montreal in the CONCACAF Champions League?
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