FOXBORO, MA - MAY 12: Lee Nguyen #24 the New England Revolution keeps the ball from the Vancouver Whitecaps after scoring a goal in the first half at Gillette Stadium May 12, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Gail Oskin/Getty Images)
Lee Nguyen put on a show against his former club, racking up two goals and an assist on the night, but revenge isn't the word he'd use to describe it. "Relief", Nguyen said of tonight's match against the Vancouver Whitecaps, "I'm just happy we got the win."
The Revs knew the importance of winning at home coming into the match, and made it their mission to do just that. Three goals in the first half and a clear-cut Goal Of The Week contender from Nguyen in the second half sealed the deal for New England as they look to get some momentum after a rocky start to the season.
But it was Vancouver who struck first. In the 5th minute Davide Chiumiento sprang Sebastien Le Toux into the side of the box who crossed it in neatly for Eric Hassli who was waiting and ready to bury it. But the Revs didn't waste any time responding. In the 6th minute the Revs found themselves with numbers in the box and a loose ball that Vancouver couldn't clear. Nguyen capitalized and tucked away his first goal of the season to level the score. "That's what we've been stressing on this week," Shalrie Joseph said of the Revs' response, "our set pieces and getting numbers into the box."
And the chances kept coming for the Revs from there. Clyde Simms had a pair of shots from distance, but both went wide of goal. In the 24th minute New England took the lead by way of a Saer Sene who was sprung into the box by a through ball from Nguyen. Sene took one touch and snuck a shot past Joe Cannon that found its way into the net.
The Revolution kept the scoring flowing by utilizing the same method that had been working for them thus far: putting numbers in the box. Again the Revs challenged the Whitecaps' back-line who were unable to clear a loose ball in the box. Shalrie Joseph took the opportunity to notch his first goal of the year in the 33rd minute.
The second half started off noticeably slower, and Vancouver looked particularly fatigued. Vancouver brought in 2nd overall SuperDraft pick Darren Mattocks for Omar Salgado in the 62nd minute to try and pick up the pace, but it ultimately proved fruitless as the Revolution kept control of the game. That's not to say that the Revs weren't challenged by the Whitecaps. Matt Reis played a big part in keeping the scoreline in the Revs' favor with a handful of saves, including a particularly difficult one to stop Alain Rochat's 57th minute shot.
In the 72nd minute, Lee Nguyen took the ball from a Chris Tierney throw-in and, after a single touch, ripped a screamer of a shot from around 25 yards out that found its way into the top corner of Joe Cannon's goal. His brace and assist were just what the doctor ordered for Nguyen, who now calls New England home. As if Nguyen's consistency so far this season wasn't enough, his performance tonight was certainly reason to celebrate the Revolution's decision to pick him up after the Whitecaps waived him in March. "We've welcomed him since the time he's been here," teammate Chris Tierney said of Nguyen, "we're happy he's here and hopefully he stays here a while".
New England's record now moves to 4-6-0, already one win shy of their total wins from last season. They will host the Houston Dynamo next Saturday at Gillette Stadium and hope to ride the positive waves from this match to another victory.