The New England Revolution picked up their first victory of the season as they rode Saer Sène goal after only 28 seconds to defeat the Portland Timbers 1-0.
It was the first career victory for head coach Jay Heaps after the Revolution (1-2-0, 3 pts.) suffered back-to-back losses on the road to start the season. The loss was Portland’s (1-1-1, 4 pts.) first of the season after starting the campaign with one win and one draw.
Shut out in their first two matches on the road, the Revs wasted little time getting off the mark in their home debut as Sène opened the scoring before many fans had the chance to take their seats. Chris Tierney was afforded room down the left flank and whipped a curling cross into the middle for Sène, who buried a powerful header off the underside of the crossbar less than 30 seconds into the match. It was Sène’s first career MLS goal in just his second appearance.
“Sometimes when you get a goal like that, it changes your game plan a little bit,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said after the match. “It took us a little bit of time to settle in. As the game went on, there were things against us, things that were hurting us, but we fought through it. That was what was the most special part of the night. When it got tough, we got tougher.”
Stunned by the early goal, Portland quickly went to work on the task of finding an equalizer. The visitors almost found it in the 13th minute when Eric Alexander’s square pass found Diego Chara in the box, but the Colombian’s first-time shot bounced wide of the left post. Burly target man Kris Boyd followed up by twice directing headers wide to the same side.
New England had a golden chance to double its lead before the halftime break when Sène sprang Kelyn Rowe on a breakaway in the 43rd minute. Rowe held off the challenge of a recovering Timbers defender but lost control as he tried to round Portland goalkeeper Troy Perkins and the ball rolled out for a goal kick.
The Revs continued to press following the interval and Lee Nguyen forced a quality save from Perkins after weaving through a trio of Timbers defenders in the 56th minute. Six minutes later Boyd was again off target at the other end, sending a free header wide of the right post from eight yards out.
Reis made his 1,000th save count as he became the sixth goalkeeper in MLS history to reach the milestone with a crucial stop on a Franck Songo’o 20-yard drive in the 85th minute.
For the Timbers and their band of fans that travelled across the country, this was a very disappointing loss. For the third straight game, Portland fell behind a goal, but unlike the Timbers’ first two matches, the answer never came and they fell for the first time in the 2012 season after a 1-0 loss at Gillette Stadium.
“As they say, if you can’t start with energy and enthusiasm in  seconds and close the ball down, you’re going to get problems,” Timbers head coach John Spencer said. “And [Chris Tierney] put in a great ball. Tierney’s got a nice left foot, and put it in, and then they get the back of it and score a goal. Very disappointing from start to finish.”
The Revs will head back on the road for their next two matches as they’ll depart for a two-game road swing through California and Texas next week. First up is a meeting with the LA Galaxy on Saturday, March 31, with kickoff from The Home Depot Center set for 11 p.m. ET.