FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Saer Sène scored his first MLS goal after 28 seconds on Saturday to hand the New England Revolution their first victory of the season with a 1-0 result over Portland at Gillette Stadium.
Sène headed home a Chris Tierney off the underside of the bar to stake the Revs (1-2-0) to a perfect start. Portland piled on the pressure as they tried once again to snatch points after falling behind, but a series of chances – including a trio of good opportunities for Kris Boyd – went begging.
The victory marked New England's sixth consecutive victory in a home opener and a first win for new coach Jay Heaps, while the defeat condemned the Timbers (1-1-1) to their first defeat of the season and first loss against the Revs.
Sène marked his debut in the ideal way by heading home inside the first minute. Tierney benefited from ample time and space on the left flank and served a tempting ball into the middle of the Timbers penalty area. Sène streaked through unmarked and smacked his header off the underside of the bar for the opening goal.
Portland responded after conceding and spent much of the first half in control of the match. Diego Chara pushed a difficult chance wide from a Jack Jewsbury feed, while Boyd squandered two opportunities to nod home from good positions.
New England tried to expose a Timbers back four altered by Hayner Mosquera's early withdrawal for suspected facial injuries, but Eric Brunner and Troy Perkins did well to cut down Kelyn Rowe's angle and ensure the match entered halftime with a one-goal advantage to the home side.
The visitors continued to enjoy the majority of the play in the second half without finding the equalizer. Boyd pushed another header wide from a promising spot, but the Timbers generally struggled to transfer their dominance in possession into clear chances.
Both managers sent on substitutes to alter the course of the match as the second half progressed. Timbers boss John Spencer sent Franck Songo'o on for his debut and threw Jorge Perlaza into the mix, while Revolution coach Jay Heaps sent Alec Purdie on for his first MLS appearance after Kevin Alston took a bicycle kick to the face from Songo'o.
The lively Songo'o forced Matt Reis to parry his stinging drive away with five minutes to play, but the tying goal never arrived to break the Timbers' unbeaten run, giving Heaps his first MLS win and start the Revolution's home campaign off with a much-needed win.
The Revs return to action on March 31 at the LA Galaxy, while the Timbers host Real Salt Lake the same night.
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