Lee Nguyen scored his fourth goal of the season just before the halftime break to temporarily pull the New England Revolution level, but it wasn’t enough as the Revs suffered a 2-1 loss in their first-ever meeting with the expansion Montreal Impact on Wednesday night at Stade Saputo.
Nguyen’s 44th-minute goal – which was originally credited as an own goal to Montreal goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts but was later changed – cancelled out Patrice Berner’s opener from the penalty spot in the 28th minute. But Sanna Nyassi – twin brother of Revolution midfielder Sainey – scored a stunning goal in the 67th minute to hand the Impact the full three points.
The victory vaulted the Impact (7-12-3, 24 pts.) over the Revs (6-9-4, 22 pts.) in the Eastern Conference standings, although Montreal has played three more games than New England.
There were four changes to the Revolution lineup which suffered a 1-0 loss to Toronto FC last weekend at Gillette Stadium. Matt Reis returned between the pipes after a two-game absence, while Darrius Barnes earned his first start of the season at center back with both Stephen McCarthy (concussive-like symptoms) and Shalrie Joseph (back stiffness) sidelined. On the wings, Kelyn Rowe returned from suspension to take his place on the left side, while Ryan Guy made his first appearance since May 26 on the right.
Reis was active early upon his return to the lineup, making a pair of key saves in the opening six minutes. Marco Di Vaio’s 30-yard free kick dipped past the wall but was pushed around the post by Reis, who was also up to the task to stop Nyassi’s skipping 25-yard blast just moments later.
There was nothing Reis could do in the 28th minute, however, when Bernier finished from the penalty spot to give the Impact a 1-0 lead. Referee Fotis Bazakos pointed to the spot when Chris Tierney was adjudged to have fouled Nyassi as he streaked into the box, while Bernier was made to take the penalty three times before finally dispatching his effort into the right side as Reis dove the other way.
The Revs almost responded in the 36th minute when Tierney picked out Saer Sene with a long pass out of the back. Sene did well to settle, turn and fire from the top of the box, but his effort was saved by Ricketts at the near post.
Ricketts wasn’t quite as fortunate in the 44th minute, however, as the Impact goalkeeper saw the ball rebound off the back of his leg and into his own net to level the score before halftime. Nguyen’s venomous drive from distance was worthy of the resulting goal – the shot beat Ricketts cleanly – but it ultimately needed a touch from Ricketts’ heel to bounce into the vacant net after the initial effort crashed off the face of the crossbar.
Montreal regained its lead in the 67th minute when Nyassi connected on a blistering full volley to register his third goal of the season. From the left wing Justin Mapp floated a teasing cross to the back post, where Nyassi took the ball out of the air and drilled a shot past Reis from eight yards out.
Searching for an equalizer the Revs made a pair of substitutions in the 79th minute, bringing on Fernando Cardenas and Sainey Nyassi to play on opposite wings, but the moves didn’t result in the desired tying goal.
The Revs will continue their road trip at Livestrong Sporting Park on Saturday, July 21, when they’ll take on Sporting Kansas City at 8:30 p.m. ET.