COLUMBUS, OH - AUGUST 25: Head Coach Jay Heaps of the New England Revolution watches his team play the Columbus Crew on August 25, 2012 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Columbus defeated New England 4-3. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
In Shalrie Joseph's return to Foxboro Wednesday night, the New England Revolution gave fans far more to talk about than just their former captain in a different jersey. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first 21 minutes, the Revolution failed to hold on yet again, surrendering three straight goals and settling for a draw with Chivas USA.
Taking Gillette Stadium's field for the first time in someone else's uniform, Joseph displayed the leadership and tenacity that endeared him to Revolution fans for years. Down 3-0, the former captain scored both first half goals for Chivas, clawing his club back from what, at the time, looked like certain defeat.
If fans expected an exciting story coming into this match, they weren't disappointed. After a fireworks display of a first half, the teams fought and clawed their way to the draw, sending Revs fans home again with more questions than answers.
The Revolution got off to an absolute flyer, scoring inside the first five minutes, when Saer Sene was the beneficiary of what one could only describe as a "turf ball". After the ball took a strange, spinning hop off the turf on a long ball, Sene controlled the ball, and whirled around with his left foot and beat Dan Kennedy, giving the Revs an early 1-0 lead.
Chivas responded well, and created their first chance just minutes later, when Casey Townsend found space at the top of the box, but his effort was saved well by Reis.
Three minutes later, the Revs were at it again, after a nifty piece of wing play from Kelyn Rowe resulted in a fine cross into the box, and with pressure from Jerry Bengtson it was Raushawn Mackenzie that flicked the ball with his toe, sending it into his own net for an own goal.
New England were on cloud nine ten minutes later, when it was Saer Sene again serving up on of his left-footed knuckleball specials. Sene controlled the ball at the top of the box after the Revs had won it in the midfield, and Sene laced a wobbling effort past a stymied Kennedy.
However, soon thereafter it was a sight Revs fans were used to seeing: Shalrie Joseph rallied the troops. After earning a corner, Joseph raised high above the Revs defenders, and headed a strong effort past a late arriving Matt Reis.
New England had another great opportunity five minutes later off of a corner kick, but the ball found itself to Saer Sene at the back post, but in his weaker right foot, and the Frenchman couldn't connect well enough and the effort when wanting.
Just before the half, it was Joseph again, this time, a little more impressively. Taking the ball off the right flank, Joseph dribbled to his left, and then fired a curling, powerful left-footed shot perfectly to the far post that Reis could do nothing with, and all the momentum was with the Los Angeles club heading into the locker room.
The teams had barely even settled back onto the pitch before Chivas USA equalized in the 47th minute. The Revs old ghosts of poor communication in the box returned, and it was Miller Bolaños who was the beneficiary, slotting the shot past Reis, completing the comeback.
Kelyn Rowe nearly saved the day in the 65th, but his effort found the cross bar, and then two minutes later Benny Feilhaber took one touch too many and couldn't round Kennedy in the box.
Though both sides clearly went for it in the final stanza, neither side could find the winning goal in the closing minutes of the match, and the final whistle blew on a very entertaining (and disappointing) draw for the New England Revolution.
New England finds itself in the middle of a three match homestand over the course of 8 days, and will welcome the Philadelphia Union to Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.