FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen set up the opening goal and tucked home the second to hand the Revolution a 2-0 home victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.
Nguyen benefited from a revamped tactical setup designed to afford him more latitude through the middle of the park and used the additional space to carve apart the Union. He played the critical pass to start the sequence for Diego Fagundez's opener in the 61st minute, and then took it upon himself in the 72nd minute, thrashing home at the back post to secure the victory.
The triumph marked the Revolution's first home win of the season (1-1-1) and their first-ever victory over the Union in nine tries.
Philly, on the other hand, crashed to a first defeat in four matches.
It proved a fitting result in the end after the Revs opened the match brightly and spurned several opportunities to take the lead in the early stages of the affair.
All of them, however, once again slipped away for one reason or another. Kelyn Rowe somehow conspired to fire over the bar from four yards after Nguyen's pullback after nine minutes. Kalifa Cissé then dragged wide of the near post seven minutes later after Stephen McCarthy saw his goalbound header charged down. Fagundez's low effort forced a kick save from Zac MacMath after 22 minutes to complete the Revs' early flurry.
Philadelphia eventually ventured into the game a bit after the opening half hour and generated two chances shortly before the interval. Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth did his part to preserve parity at the break by palming Michael Farfan's shot over the bar and thwarting Danny Cruz's attempted chip shortly before the halftime whistle.
The even exchanges continued at the start of the second stanza until the Revolution finally broke its duck in front of goal and took charge of the proceedings.
Nguyen played a critical role in prompting the opener in the 61st minute when he slipped Rowe through on the right side of the penalty area. Rowe lifted his head and picked out Fagundez's run near the penalty spot. Fagundez swept home with his first touch to notch the first goal by a Revolution player since Jerry Bengtson scored in the club's 1-0 victory at Chicago on March 9.
Opta Chalkboard: Revs' Nguyen dominates the midfield possession
Nguyen then started and finished the buildup to the vital second 11 minutes later. The creative midfielder embarked upon an incisive run through midfield and played second-half substitute Saer Sene through on the left side of the penalty area. MacMath saved the initial attempt, but the rebound fell kindly for Nguyen as he completed his run. He gleefully thumped home into the empty net to provide a bit of leeway for the Revs in the late stages.
Both teams continued to exchange changes in the waning stages, but the Revs held firm to garner the three points.
New England will be back in action next Thursday in Portland (10:30 pm ET, Univision Deportes). The Union return home to host the Seattle Sounders on Saturday (4 pm ET, watch on MLS LIVE).
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Lee Nguyen (NE)||Set up a goal, scored the other. Dominated the midfield from start to finish.|
|2||Bobby Shuttleworth (NE)||Four saves on the night, including a massive one on Cruz just before halftime|
|3||Michael Farfan (PHI)||Brought energy down the left flank in a constant battle with Farrell, nearly scored in the 1st half|