The day has finally come when the 2014 New England Revolution mustered both a goal and a victory.
The Revs clashed with Chris Wondolowski and the San Jose Earthquakes in Santa Clara, California last night, defeating the Quakes 2-1 on Lee Nguyen’s stoppage-time strike.
The match began titled in the Revolution’s favor in possession and overall dynamic offensive play.
In the 16th minute, Daigo Kobayashi penetrated San Jose’s box and slotted a short pass over to Saer Sene, who hit the ball solidly but aimed it at goalkeeper John Busch’s center for a punched save.
Nine minutes later, Teal Bunbury provided the Revs with another golden opportunity off of a break led by Kobayashi. The Japanese midfielder calmly moved the ball forward before laying it off to Diego Fagundez. The 19-year-old took a brisk stutter step before tapping it to Bunbury for a hard low strike that Busch stopped diving wildly to his right.
New England capture its first goal through a Fagundez’s lobbed lead pass searching for Sene in the center, but despite being overpowered, some confusion ensued. Busch charged the ball to stop it, Jordan Stewart muffed the clearance and Victor Bernardez, feeling Sene’s pursuit as the ball dribbled towards frame, slipped and rocketed a shot into his own net.
“You earn your luck,” Jay Heaps said of this opportune first goal. “We did a nice job creating (chances). It was a fortunate bounce for us, but the way we played in the first half, it was really worth a goal.”
The Quakes began to quell some the Rev’s attack towards the end of the first half and gathered some chances of their own.
Coming off of Shea Salinas’ set pice in the 39th minute, Steven Lenhart nailed a quality header, compelling goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth to stretch to his right, as the attempt sailed just wide of the post.
Chris Wondolowski gave San Jose their one of their best attempts on the night in the 63rd minute. Salinas played him into the box with a nicely-touched lead pass, and Wondo drove the net at a tricky angle, still managing to blast a left-footer just wide of the iron.
The Earthquakes drew the contest at 1-1 roughly five minutes later when Wondolowski cleaned up a deflected mess following a squared ball from midfielder Cordell Cato.
“In the second half, how they (the Earthquakes) played was really worth the goal as well,” said Jay Heaps. “They were just all over us, credit to them for that.”
A counter attack led by Charlie Davies in the 80th minute nearly resulted in a score, as the former Boston College standout fed Bunbury on the wing to smack a low cross into the danger area. Busch dove forward to push the ball forward, and host of Eathquakes’ defenders blocked down Lee Nguyen’s follow-up try.
In the waning minutes of stoppage time, though, Nguyen was the hero, receiving a perfect pass from Scott Caldwell and patiently dribbling into a small opening where he zipped a strike underneath Busch.
“It’s a great feeling,” Nguyen told media following the game. “To fight hard like that. We put in a great shift both offensively and defensively, and it was felt great to be rewarded.”
“When that goal went in, it was just immense relief,” defender A.J. Soares said with a smile on his face.
The Revolution will head down the coast to face D.C. United next Saturday night, searching for a two-game winning streak