The New England Revolution picked up their first win of the season Saturday night when they beat the San San Jose Earthquakes 2-1, at Buck Shaw Stadium. The game seems destined to be heading for a draw until Lee Nguyen popped up to score the game-winning goal in the third minute of stoppage time.
A quickly taken free kick from New England in midfield surprised San Jose and a great pass from Scott Caldwell released Nguyen who created some space for himself in the penalty box before firing a shot past Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch.
This was a game of two halves for the Rev. In the first half, New England played their best 45 minutes of the season. The high pressure by New England, combined with the wide play from Andrew Farrell and Chris Tierney caused SJ all sorts of problems and it was no surprise when New England went ahead, although the many of the goal was unexpected.
In the 35th minute, Fagundez flicked a ball over the top of the San Jose defense with Sene and Bunbury on-rushing, but ‘Quakes defender Jordan Stewart re-directed the ball back toward goal, behind Busch. Defender Victor Bernardez caught up with the ball and looked to have a chance to prevent it from going over the goal line, but his foot clipped it and pushed it into the goal for a 1-0 Revolution lead. A comical goal, but they all count and New England had its first goal of the season.
They should have had more in a dominant first half that saw Sene, Fagundez, Teal Bunbury and Daigo Kobayashi all miss good chances. Where the goals will come from continues to be an issue for New England four games into the season.
It was a very different Earthquakes side that came out in the second half and after threatening on several chances, they finally broke through in the 69th minute. Cordell Cato got down the right wing and put a low cross in along the end line. Jose Goncalves cleared it back, but it landed right at Wondolowski’s feet and he slotted his shot past Bobby Shuttleworth for the equalizer.
Anyone watching the game could see that a goal was coming, and it is mystery why Jay Heaps did not make an early substitution and bring on Scott Caldwell earlier to try and stem the tide.
One move that Heaps made that worked well was the introduction of Charlie Davies in the 80th minute for Sene. In his 10 minutes, Davies showed more speed and attaching instinct that Sene has shown all season.
The Revolution returns to action next Saturday, March 22, when the team travels to Washington to take on D.C. United at RFK Stadium.