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Revolution outlast Red Bulls to reach first MLS Cup Final since 2007

Jermaine Jones Dax McCarty New England Revolution New York Red Bulls 1

Photo by Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New York Red Bulls made things real interesting, but the New England Revolution outlasted them in an intense draw to book a place in the MLS Cup final.

Charlie Davies bagged a brace and the Revolution twice came from a goal down to pick up a 2-2 draw in the second leg of their Eastern Conference Finals series. The result saw New England advance via a 4-3 aggregate score, allowing the club to reach its first MLS Cup since 2007.

Tim Cahill and Peguy Luyindula scored on each side of halftime, respectively, at Gillette Stadium to give New York hope, but the hosts responded both times through Davies.

The American forward canceled out Cahill’s opener with a flicked effort in the 41st minute, and negated Luyindula’s series leveler with a perfect header 20 minutes before the end of regulation. Davies now has four playoff goals this year.

New England entered the match ahead on aggregate after winning, 2-1, at Red Bull Arena last Sunday. But the advantage was negated in the 26th minute by Cahill, who was replacing suspended forward Bradley Wright-Phillips.

New York captain Thierry Henry floated an incredibly-accurate ball from the left over to the Australian, who fought off a challenge from New England centerback Jose Goncalves and poked a shot past Bobby Shuttleworth.

The Red Bulls squandered an opportunity to take a 2-0 lead in the match 11 minutes later, as defender Jamison Olave headed a skipping volley from Cahill over the crossbar.

New England mustered up a response before halftime. Davies netted his first of the game off a well-executed short corner that saw Chris Tierney whip in a cross from the right. Davies managed to push to the ball through a crowd, and it snuck just inside of the left-hand post to tie the match and push the Revolution ahead on aggregate.

Replays showed that the ball came off Davies’ left arm before beating Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles, but referee Baldomero Toledo allowed the goal to stand.

Chances continued to be exchanged, but New York struck next. A minute after Luyindula headed a free kick over the crossbar, the Frenchman brought the Red Bulls level in the series when he pushed a loose ball home in the 52nd.

Lloyd Sam hit a cross from the right that was missed by a jumping Goncalves and bundled by Andrew Farrell, allowing Luyindula to pounce on the ball and score his third goal of the postseason.

Needing another tally to jump ahead and complicate things for New England, New York continued to push forward and nearly came up with its first lead in the series in the 65th minute. Henry hit a perfect cross right in front of a streaking Cahill, who failed to hit the target with a volley that went high.

The Revolution made the Red Bulls pay for that miss, reclaiming the lead on aggregate for good in the 70th minute. Tierney whipped in a gorgeous cross from the left that Davies headed perfectly into the bottom corner of the net.

Mike Petke changed things tactically in an effort to find the goal his Red Bulls needed, but Bobby Shuttleworth pawed away the only real other chance New York had via an Ibrahim Sekagya header.

New England will now visit the winner of the LA Galaxy-Seattle Sounders series in the MLS Cup Final on Dec. 8. The second leg of those two Western Conference clubs’ series will be played on Sunday.


  1. A lot of times people, including many here at SBI, criticize the MLS playoff system. Today’s game was really exciting and fun to watch, even for a neutral. Considering how so often European league championships are decided weeks before the final game, I have grown to like the MLS approach.
    Also, kudos to announcer John Strong, who, IMHO, has become one of the better US soccer announcers around.

  2. I normally don’t comment very often about MLS players except in usmnt context, but I have to say how excited I am to see Lee Nguyen as the “up and comer” as far as the usmnt is concerned. I know he’s not a youngster etc and people have been singing his praises… but I’m always kinda skeptical until someone proves that their game transfers to International play…. especially the more skilled attacking players. Reason being we’re always looking for the next “guy”… the next Donovan or Deuce, seems we’ve been excited then subsequently let down…. The D mids and defenders sure- we’ve got some talent and depth…. but I’m really stoked at how he could impact us.

    I’ve watched almost every one of their games since JJ signed and Nguyen just passes the eye test with flying colors- He’s really taken it up several notches this year. Not just his touch and scoring from the attacking mid spot.. but his vision, passing, his spacing and speed of thought- decision making-all of it… he’s been just flat out on the money this year. I’m looking forward to seeing him get going 110% now with the Nats..
    Good for him.. and good for us also

      • That’s funny Nate- I think my point is “I felt that way about (insert name here)”
        Which is why I rarely comment on the topic. Beyond anyone’s hype, stats, etc.- the thing I ask myself is, Does he pass the eye test….
        The only other guy I’ve made a comment on like this is Greg Garza because when he platooned with Edgar last year he really looked the part and I took some heat for that..bc he hadn’t played enough. But to me he passed the eye test. Nguyen looks like that to me.
        Hopefully you don’t bust my chops next year

      • I feel you too Nate, but wondo looked “good” in terms of “being in the right spot” aka a poacher; that should have been attributed to some lesser defenses, etc. with Lee, however, when I’ve watched him, he seems to have a good motor and quick feet that constantly move, even while in one place. this helps possession immensely and what i’ve been want to see in the NT. in terms of quickness and changing direction he looks great, this aides his ability to create. i believe this would/could translate better to the NT level. It could be said that he showed this in his 12 minutes the other week. excited to see how he pans out but my only concerns are his size/strength and essentially his age; while he can surely help over the next few years, he will be 31 by 2018 and will naturally lose some quickness. I’d really like a true number 10(maybe 8) star to burst onto the scene. we’ve never really had a young amazing talent at cam. I’m not even gonna start babbling names but that’s what could help our NT the most, an offensive organizer that is looking for assists essentially. ok I’m done

      • Wondo scored a lot of goals…he is a great goal poacher.
        He is in no way similar to Lee Nguyen…Nguyen’s quality is unmistakable.

  3. SBI is calling it the MLS Cup Final (which it should be called) but MLS (and ESPN and most soccer media) call it the MLS Cup

    The headline on ESPN is NE Revolution advance to MLS Cup. That’s a bit confusing. The MLS Cup? The tournament is called the MLS Cup. The final should be MLS Cup Final.

  4. Congrats to the Revs.. The Bulls just missed out. Petke and co. had a good post-season. Hope Titi decides to stay for another year. It has been a joy to watch him over the last 5 years. Vaya con dios!

    • Full credit to NY. I don’t follow them primarily, so I was worried they backed into the playoffs and would offer some unexciting games. They definitely proved otherwise, both against DC and NE. I know they have some changes to make this offseason, but I hope they don’t completely blow up the team as there is a promising core there (McCarty and Alexander make the midfield areas very uncomfortable for opposing teams – I was impressed).

    • I was neutral (though I leaned a bit in favor of of NE). But I kept trying to picture this game from the point of view of a Galaxy or Sounders fan: would I rather face NYRB or NE in the final? Just based on performance in the Eastern Conference finals, mind you.

      As a Sounders fan, I thought NE would be the tougher test in terms of matching strength vs weakness. If I were a Galaxy fan, I’d be more concerned about NYRB.

      What do others think?

      • As a Galaxy fan, I would fear the Revs more because they have had the better record the second half of the season and Jones has been outstanding. With Nguyen and now Davies playing well, they look very dangerous. While Wright Phillips has been a revelation this year, I think the Galaxy have shown they can handle him.

      • So because you can’t call it… we all just pretend it never happened. Got it. Makes perfect sense.

        The ref and linesman missed it. That doesn’t mean no one could ever call it. I mean it’s not as obvious as a two footed scissor tackle, I grant you.

      • I’ll be honest, as a neutral watching the game I didn’t see it when they showed the slo-mo replay (along with the announcers). I thought it actually came off Jones initially. If the guys in the NBC truck say handball, I certainly believe them, but I have a hard time putting that on the ref when it wasn’t obvious to me in slo-mo.

      • You’re right, the whole article probably should have been devoted to that. It’s likely a big conspiracy. You should start a blog about it.

      • Well I would have been happy with a mention in the recap, but if you really think it deserves that much attention I won’t argue with you. I will pass on the blog, though. I ran out of tinfoil making all my other hats.

      • I did see an obvious handball in the goal area against the Redbull that Toledo let go though… could that be the one you mean? Or maybe the scissors tackle Dax threw today that wasn’t called?

        Hmmm maybe there was a conspiracy…against New England.

        I’m sure the league would have rather had NY in the finals than NE. Assigning Toledo to this game was the most they could do to try and make that happen. Mr. NoCall

      • Check the replay Dax got ball.

        The handball – you are not gonna get that call and I’ve watched 3 replays and still not sure what hit what on that first Revs goal.

      • That so-called handball was a hand in front of the face of the defender and you can’t possibly call the McCarty tackle a scissor tackle. Re-watch the tackle of McCarty by Jermaine Jones from the 1st match and relay that over the Mullen tackle of Zakuani that snapped his leg and ended his career. Those are exactly alike except the result. The McCarty tackle was at worst a yellow card and no comparison to Jones’ tackle which every announcer said should have been a straight red and Jones would not have been on the field for that winning goal and would have not played today.

    • why does it matter? there’s no rule saying the ball can’t touch your arm. unless the ref thinks this was deliberate (and that would be a pretty bad call, in my opinion), it’s still a goal.

  5. Cahill’s miss should haunt him. It will haunt RBNY fans for a long time. And it left Henry talking to himself. Cahill almost redeemed himself for this waste of a season from him, but he fell short.


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