By CARL SETTERLUND
As Lee Nguyen goes, so go the New England Revolution.
The star midfielder came through with his MLS-leading eighth game-winning goal Thursday night, as Nguyen scored twice in the final 25 minutes to send the traveling Revs to a 2-1 comeback victory over the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Nguyen’s brace upped his goal total to 17 this season — the fourth-highest total in the league and six more than any other true midfielder. It was the ninth time in the last 10 games that Nguyen has had either a goal or an assist. The Revolution (16-13-4) have won eight of those games.
The Dynamo (11-16-6) led for nearly a half hour, but Nguyen’s late heroics spoiled the evening for longtime coach Dominic Kinnear, who was looking to go out with a win in his final home game as Dynamo coach. Houston had already been eliminated from playoff contention the previous weekend.
Giles Barnes banged in the rebound on an Omar Cummings try in the 37th minute. Cummings made a well-timed run in behind A.J. Soares, but had his try parried away by Bobby Shuttleworth (3 saves). Barnes was there to run onto the ball for the Englishman’s 11th goal of the season.
Nguyen’s first goal came in the 65th minute off some sharp ball movement as Jermaine Jones played a through ball to Kevin Alston down the left sideline on one of his first touches of the game. Alston centered to Nguyen, who sidestepped Jermaine Taylor and then zoomed it inside the right post.
The go-ahead strike came in the 87th minute as the Revolution pressured in the box. Jones found Davies in close to goal, but Tyler Deric came up with the initial save. Defender Darrius Barnes smartly laid the rebound off to Nguyen, who sent it home from inside 10 yards.
The Revs had the better of the offensive chances, creating 20 shots, and their effectiveness increased after Jones, Davies and Alston subbed on early in the second half. Jones only played in a limited role because he was with the U.S. Men’s National Team two days prior.
The Dynamo finish their season the road next weekend against the Chicago Fire, while the Revolution close the regular season at home against Toronto FC. The Revs locked up an Eastern Conference playoff-spot last weekend and they’re still trying to lock down the No. 2 seed.
What did you think of the Revs-Dynamo game? Where does Lee Nguyen rank among MVP candidates? What are your thought’s on Dom Kinnear’s final home game?
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