New England Revolution’s 2-1 victory over D.C. United Saturday night at Gillette Stadium might have been their most impressive win of the season. Yes it lacked the offensive fireworks that marked the clubs previous thumping’s of Seattle and Philadelphia, but in winning, Jay Heaps side showed a grit and determination that we had not seen this season.
DC boss Ben Olsen had set up his side to stop New England’s free flowing attack and the first 45 minutes reflected that, as the Revs midfielders struggled to find any room while United were content to sit back and wait for a counter attack opportunity.
The game changed in the 55th minute when rookie striker Patrick Mullins scored for the fourth time in four games. A great run by Diego Fagundez through the heart of the D.C. defense created the opportunity and the ball fell nicely to Mullins ego slide the ball past United ‘keeper Bill Hamid for the 1-0 lead.
How did there rest of MLS let Mullins slide all the way down to 11th place in the draft? New England has been transformed since Mullins has been injected into the starting line-up and the rookie gets better with every game.
The goal forced D.C. to come out of their shell and Olsen responded to going a goal down by bringing on leading goal scorer Fabian Espindola and the move worked when he buried home a cross from Cristian to square things up, breaking a 432 minute home shutout streak for the Revolution.
But just five minutes later the Revs were back in front when Teal Bunbury’s low cross through the box was pushed out by Hamid, but straight onto the foot of Fagundez who fired it through for his fourth goal in three games.
The Revs struggled to create chances against a good United defense, but onto the win partly because of their own strong defending. After missing five games with a right quad strain, last season’s MLS Defending Player of the Year Jose Goncalves returned to the New England lineup, putting in a full 90 minutes, working with A.J. Soares in smothering Eddie Johnson in the middle.
New England only has two games left before the enforced World Cup break, which is probably coming at the wrong time for Jay Heaps side. The Revs are the best team in MLS at the moment, but after games against Montreal (5/31) and New York (6/8) New England will be off for almost four weeks until they play Philadelphia on 6/28. Will the Revolution be able to pick up against the Union the form they have at the moment?