FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It’s been nearly two years since New England Revolution defender Chris Tierney curled home a free kick in MLS action. The last time, in fact, came March 26, 2016 in a 1-1 draw at New York City FC – nearly two years prior to the Revolution hosting the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.
But when a dead-ball situation arose in the 93rd minute against Anthony Hudson’s Colorado Rapids, Tierney did what he’s best known for with his deft left foot. After shrugging off Diego Fagundez’s insistence, he bent a 20-yard game-winner past Tim Howard to lift New England to a 2-1 triumph.
“It was a tough negotiation, but seniority wins out there in the end and it was on my side,” Tierney said. “It was angled for a left-footer there, and then I just figured knowing it was last kick of the game, ‘I’m getting it on target. I’m not putting this thing over. I’m going to make him make a save if nothing else.’”
However, when Brad Friedel drew up his starting XI versus Colorado, Tierney wasn’t in it. The 32-year-old was forced into action in the 17th minute when offseason signing Gabriel Somi, the Revs’ starting left back, went down with a head injury.
Tierney’s insertion formed the fourth change to a back line that lost 2-0 on opening weekend at the Philadelphia Union, and Jalil Anibaba was thrilled to see the fellow veteran seize his chance.
“Man, it’s great to be on the positive end of what Tierney can do with his left foot,” Anibaba said. “There were a lot of dangerous options with that free kick at the top of the box, but Tierney has been among the best with left-footed service and free kicks for so, so long.”
The win, which included a Fagundez opener in the 48th minute, also set a positive tone for the Friedel era at Gillette Stadium.
Jay Heaps, the Revs’ previous head coach, racked up an overall 55-20-25 record on home turf across his six seasons. Keeping the trend going under Friedel was crucial for Tierney, especially with a bye week on the horizon before New England hosts New York City FC on March 24.
“We’ve established a really good home record here over the last few years, and Brad’s emphasized that’s something we want to continue,” Tierney said. “We want to make teams feel uncomfortable when they come here, and I thought on the whole we deserved to win today.”
For Friedel, though, the focus was already forward-thinking.
“It was essential, especially with a bye week next week, that we got the three points,” Friedel said. “Everyone is delighted, but we’re going to forget this one and have to move onto NYCFC next.”