Lee Nguyen haunted his former team with two goals and one assist in an inspired performance as the New England Revolution rolled to a 4-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
Nguyen – waived by Vancouver in March – notched his first two MLS goals, including a spectacular long-distance rocket to round out the scoring, sandwiched around first-half strikes from Saer Sène and Shalrie Joseph. It was the Revolution’s best offensive output since scoring four times in a 4-4 draw with the Philadelphia Union last September.
Eric Hassli scored Vancouver’s lone goal in the fifth minute as the Whitecaps (5-3-2, 17 pts.) saw their three-game winning streak come to an abrupt end. The Revs (4-6-0, 12 pts.) picked up their third home win of the season in their fourth match at Gillette Stadium.
One week after utilizing a 4-5-1 formation in a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake, the Revs returned to their customary 4-4-2 alignment with Blake Brettschneider partnering Sène up top. Stephen McCarthy was recalled to the starting lineup as he partnered A.J. Soares in central defense.
The action was fast and furious from the opening whistle as the teams traded goals inside six minutes and combined for four total before the halftime break.
Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis came up with a huge save to deny Sebastien Le Toux from close range in the third minute, but Hassli found a way through to give the visitors a 1-0 lead two minutes later. Davide Chiumiento began the move with a cutting pass to Le Toux, who pulled the ball back to Hassli for a low finish from the right side of the box.
Nguyen pulled the Revs level just one minute later with his first of the night. Brettschneider’s attempted volley near the penalty spot was blocked but the ball settled for Nguyen, who drilled a shot into the lower left corner from eight yards out.
Eighteen minutes after piercing the net, Nguyen turned provider as he set up Sène for his team-leading fourth goal of the season. Nguyen sliced through the Whitecaps midfield before dishing off for Sène, who held off Alain Rochat and finished low inside the far post to give the Revs a 2-1 lead in the 24th minute.
New England extended its lead to 3-1 in the 33rd minute when Joseph notched his first goal of the season. Sène’s right-wing cross was only half-cleared to Joseph near the penalty spot and the Revolution captain lashed home into the lower left corner past helpless Vancouver goalkeeper Joe Cannon.
The pace slowed considerably after the halftime break but Nguyen gave the Gillette Stadium crowd a jolt in the 72nd minute with a stunning long-distance strike. Nguyen settled Chris Tierney’s short throw-in near the corner of the box and after letting the ball bounce, unleashed a dipping rocket into the far upper corner to put the finishing touch on the Revolution’s 4-1 win.
The Revs will play their second straight home match next weekend when they host the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, May 19. Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m.