FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Forget about the next two games. Those eventualities mattered little as the New England Revolution stared into the abyss in the final 20 minutes of their 3-1 victory over Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night. And they knew it.
Their collective response -- and the contributions of Juan Agudelo, Kei Kamara and Lee Nguyen to transform a 1-1 draw into that vital triumph -- rescued the Revs from a potentially fatal pair of dropped points and underscored their continued quest to secure a playoff berth as this campaign winds to a close.
“We started thinking that this was the last few games of the season, we know we have to win,” Agudelo told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “We think, 'Who is it going to be that pushes us into the playoffs?' There are players that worked their butt off to get into positions to be that guy. There were good plays out there.”
Agudelo, Kamara and Nguyen played an integral part in most of them as the Revs took advantage of their mobility and Sporting KC’s tendency to overcommit defensively on the night. Agudelo and Kamara combined on the first and third goals to end the night with a goal and an assist apiece, while Nguyen prompted Kevin Ellis’ own goal for the winner and wrought havoc with his penchant for interchanging with Agudelo after the interval.
Revolution coach Jay Heaps praised his players for implementing those tactics after working on the training ground this week, while Kamara cited the chemistry between Agudelo and Nguyen -- plus the corresponding benefits to his own work up front -- as a key component of the Revs’ continued playoff push.
“I’m not the coach, but if I was, they’d call me a genius for that one, definitely,” Kamara said. “They do well. They have a really, really good relationship. I can see it when I’m on the field with them. It’s good to see that, read that when they’re talking to each other. It’s really good. I’m just trying to feed off of them and make the right runs, which I was doing today, and being at the end of plays to help us finish something in the front. That’s all I’m trying to do.”
Those efforts proved more than enough to claim all three points and keep the Revs within sight of Montréal and Philadelphia with two matches remaining in the campaign.
“We didn’t want to tie this game knowing that we were playing better than the other team,” Agudelo said. “That’s what I thought. I thought we were working harder. We were more aware. We deserved to win.”