Clint Dempsey tallied his fourth consecutive match winner in the 88th minute to propel the New England Revolution past a dogged Chivas USA 1-0 at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.
Played in a constant rain that neared monsoon conditions at points, the match saw the home side waste numerous chances at goal after dominating possession throughout the match, while the visitors had difficulty maintaining possession or generating any sustained offense.
Chivas had Douglas Sequeira and Brad Guzan to thank for remaining in the match, as each played a large role in keeping the ball out of the net before Dempsey's header from a Marshall Leonard cross left with Guzan with no chance two minutes from time.
Chivas had the first opportunity of the match, winning a dangerous free kick in the fourth minute after Shalrie Joseph bundled over Hector Cuadros. But the Chivas playmaker curled his free kick just wide of Revolution 'keeper Matt Reis' left hand post.
The home side would gradually work themselves into the match while Douglas Sequeira provided defensive solidity for the visitors, winning numerous headers out of the back. His influence was required after 25 minutes, as his last-second sliding intervention denied Taylor Twellman ten yards from goal.
Matt Taylor had the best chance of the interval for Chivas a minute later. Spinning Revolution right back Jay Heaps, Taylor found space at the corner of the six-yard box, but he was able to manage just a disappointing roller to Reis.
A penalty area scramble in the 32nd generated a glorious chance for Twellman. Revolution midfielder Steve Ralston, returning to the lineup after a bout with bronchitis, did well to turn Ryan Suarez. Sequeira cut out the low cross, but the rebound fell right to Twellman at the top of the six-yard box. Guzan stood tall and turned the effort away, then Dempsey had another chance that was blocked before the ball was hacked clear.
The half closed with another guilt-edged chance denied by Guzan in the 43rd minute. Pat Noonan struck a half volley from 12 yards only to see the right arm of the rookie 'keeper deny the goal ward effort, then just after the break came a similar action as Guzan set off on a spectacular full stretch dive to his right to deny a well-stuck Dempsey effort in the 46th minute.
Chivas had a goal disallowed in the 54th minute. As Thiago Martins lashed a volley past Reis, the whistle had blown as Suarez connected with Joseph's face after an ill-fated bicycle kick attempt. The Brazilian was bemused with his teammate, while Joseph required lengthy treatment before resuming play.
Twellman was unlucky to see the ball skip off his feet in the 68th minute. He had lost marker Sequiera. Noonan found him with a flighted free kick at the top of the goal area, but the slippery conditions cost the striker a chance at goal.
Dempsey should have opened the scoring after 72 minutes. A Cancela free kick was flicked on by Heaps at near post and unmarked two yards from goal, Dempsey's diving header with Guzan out to sea missed wide of the post.
A poor giveaway at the top of the penalty area gifted the Revolution with another wonderful chance. Marshall Leonard's cross was on the mark, but Twellman's looping header went over the bar when a more delicate touch could have placed the ball over the onrushing Guzan. Then Leonard had a chance to tally the game-winner in the 81st minute. After Guzan flailed at an incoming corner, the ball rebounded out to the waiting Leonard at the edge of the penalty area. His low, skimming shot appeared headed for the back of the net before Suarez cleared the ball off the line.
It was Dempsey who gave then gave the Revolution a deserved game winner two minutes from time. The cross from Leonard, after juking past Ezra Hendrickson, was directly on the head of Dempsey. The Texan had spurned an earlier chance, but he slipped past Suarez to tally his fourth consecutive game-winning goal.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution)
CD Chivas USA (0-4-1) vs. New England Revolution (4-0-1)
April 30, 2005 -- Gillette Stadium
NE -- Clint Dempsey 4 (Marshall Leonard 1) 88
CD Chivas USA -- Brad Guzan, Ezra Hendrickson, Douglas Sequeira, Alfonso Loera, Orlando Perez, Ramon Ramirez, Hector Cuadros, Jesus Ochoa, Ryan Suarez, Thiago Martins, Matt Taylor (Isaac Romo 76).
Substitutes Not Used: Victor Arbelaez, Javier Barragan, Armando Begines, Francisco Mendoza.
TOTAL SHOTS: 5 (Thiago Martins 2); SHOTS ON GOAL: 2 (Orlando Perez 1, Matt Taylor 1); FOULS: 28 (Thiago Martins 6); OFFSIDES: 5 (Thiago Martins 3); CORNER KICKS: 0; SAVES: 8 (Brad Guzan 7)
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, Avery John, Andy Dorman, Steve Ralston (Jose Cancela 63), Clint Dempsey, Shalrie Joseph, Marshall Leonard, Taylor Twellman, Pat Noonan.
Substitutes Not Used: Connally Edozien, Jamie Holmes, Jeff Larentowicz, Ryan Latham, Luke Vercollone, Doug Warren.
TOTAL SHOTS: 15 (Clint Dempsey 6); SHOTS ON GOAL: 9 (Clint Dempsey 3); FOULS: 8 (Avery John 3, Shalrie Joseph 3); OFFSIDES: 1 (Taylor Twellman 1); CORNER KICKS: 13 (Andy Dorman 8); SAVES: 2 (Matt Reis 2)
CHV -- Hector Cuadros (caution; Reckless Foul) 61
CHV -- Matt Taylor (caution; Pushing, Holding) 72
CHV -- Thiago Martins (caution; Pushing, Holding) 73
CHV -- Ryan Suarez (caution; Tackle from Behind) 78
CHV -- Isaac Romo (caution; Reckless Foul) 83
Referee: Kevin Terry
Referee's Assistants: Thomas Supple; Kenneth Kaplan
4th Official: Niko Bratsis
Time of Game: 1:50
All Statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial