The Revolution earned a big three points tonight as they defeated their I-95 rivals the New York Red Bulls at Gillette Stadium thanks to goals by Lee Nguyen, his third of the season, and brand new Designated Player Jerry Bengtson, his first of the season in his very first appearance. The Revs sought out to not only secure three points but also put together a complete defensive performance without any mistakes, both of which they were successful at tonight.
"(Goals allowed the last few games) were mistakes," Jay Heaps said post-game. "It's good. I think A.J. (Soares) and Stephen (McCarthy), particularly A.J., manned up tonight and did an excellent job on every time he came across. I thought Kevin Alston had a really good game making plays and coming across. And Chris Tierney, he had a tough assignment on Dane Richards, and I thought Chris Tierney, for 90 minutes, absolutely shut down their play."
Though the Revs had a solid outing defensively, they didn’t exactly make the most of their opportunities offensively, particularly in the first half when they squandered a number of golden chances in and around the New York goal. Yet although they didn’t dominate possession, it sure seemed as though the Revs were well in control of the game with a number of shots on goal, but none finding the net.
New England finally broke through in the 24th minute when Chris Tierney was played into the goal area and laid it off to Lee Nguyen who was waiting at the top of the box to put it away. "I actually thought I’d kind of screwed that one up, to be honest," said Chris Tierney of his team-leading 4th assist on the year. "I was looking to Saer (Sene) on the overlap, but (Brandon) Barklage did a good job jumping out so I hit the panic button a little bit. But I just squared one to Lee (Nguyen) - it wasn’t a great ball or anything - but Lee’s just top class, takes a touch and smashes it lower corner. We’ll take it."
Going into half-time, the Revs were certainly feeling confident. But soon into the second half it became apparent that just a one-goal lead may not be enough. The Revolution were on their heels on a number of occasions, including in the 56th minute when Kenny Cooper hit the post off an effort from distance.
But the Revs were able to hold off their opponents long enough for newcomer Jerry Bengtson to make his first impression with his new team in the 84th minute with a much-needed goal—one that helped ensure three points for the home team. Bengtson’s goal came from a lucky deflection off of Ryan Meara who stopped Saer Sene from scoring initially. The Honduran followed through on the play and was able to beat Meara to slide home the goal.
"I think you’re going to see more goals like he scored where it’s a poachers goal," said Jay Heaps. "He’s offside on the first part of the build up, but then he comes back onside and he fights off the goalkeeper and scores. Those are his kind of goals and we need someone who puts those away."
Lucky for the Revs, they finally have that player now in Bengtson. And though he will be departing soon to take part in the London Olympic games with his native Honduras, Revs fans may still get another chance to see him take the pitch before he leaves as he is expected to be available next weekend against Toronto FC.
Tonight’s three points were well-earned, and much-needed. But they will need to keep this winning momentum going if they intend to make a real run up the Eastern Conference table and secure a playoff spot. Their upcoming home match against Toronto will be a good opportunity to do just that. If New England can string together more tight defensive performances like tonight’s and be more clinical in front of goal, they stand a good chance.