Although the New England Revolution’s first goal of the season came off the foot of their opponent in Saturday’s match against San Jose, it was the second goal, scored by Lee Nguyen in stoppage time that made all the difference.
Nguyen would not be denied, taking a midfield pass from Scott Caldwell into the box and pulling back on defender Clarence Goodson before striking a right-footed blast past Jon Busch well into second-half stoppage time.
It was just about the last kick in a 2-1 win, New England’s first of the year.
“We pivoted the triangle to create a little more space for Lee up top,” said coach Jay Heaps in a postgame conference call with the media. “I think it worked well.”
The first goal of the season was a bit more unconventional, starting with a flick of the ball from Diego Fagundez over the San Jose Earthquakes back line.
With Busch and defender Jordan Stewart nearly colliding in an effort to get to the ball, Stewart pushed it towards the net and Victor Bernardez’s sliding, last ditch effort to clear wound up forcing the ball into the goal, putting an end to New England’s season-long scoreless streak.
The Revolution attack gained an early edge, with a sense urgency to end that scoreless streak and within the first 25 minutes of action Saer Sene, Teal Bunbury and Fagundez all forced Busch to make some key saves.
“I thought we were really positive early,” said Heaps. “Offensively we moved the ball well, took good possession, good chances in the first half.”
In the second half that attack fell short as San Jose cranked up the pressure on their end leading to Chris Wondolowski’s 69th minute equalizer.
But the Revolution came on again late and with the Earthquakes pushing for another of their trademark late-game goals, New England found an opening and exploited it for their first win of the season.
“It was a good result for us,” said Heaps. “Our guys really rallied around each other…in the end I thought our guys continued to fight and never gave in.”