The New England Revolution pulled off an unlikely upset on Saturday night, taking down the Houston Dynamo in Texas by a 2-9 score line. An excellent goal from Diego Fagundez and an own goal from Ricardo Clark capped off a match marred by some truly awful officiating.
After a tumultuous and tempestuous first half, both teams dialed up the intensity and really did nothing to mitigate the overt physical pattern of play that was emerging, and Edvin Jurisevic failed to gain control of the match as the referee. He made several perplexing calls and neither team came away feeling that the ref had done them any favors.
Fagundez's goal came in the 51st minute after a well-crafted team move that the little winger was integral in starting. He made a long lateral run across the top of the box to the right flank, where he received the ball and had some nice interplay with Lee Nguyen and Juan Toja. He eventually got the ball back and cut back towards the middle, playing a slick one-two with Clyde Simms at the top of the box that released him into the box on Tally Hall. From there, it was just a matter of applying the finish, which he did clinically.
The Revs cranked up the pressure after the goal, running through a period of total dominance in all phases of play. The peak came between the 70th and 75th minutes, a stretch that included two very close chances from distance by Nguyen and a good counter-attack that was squandered on a wasteful Andrew Farrell shot. Nguyen, for his part, forced a save from Hall and hit the post just a minute later.
Houston started pressing after that, and if not for the heroics of Bobby Shuttleworth, may have found an equalizer. In the 81st minute, a little pass from the far post by Andrew Driver found Brian Ching just outside the six, but his effort was parried away by Shuttleworth in a brilliant reaction save.
Then, against the run of play, the Revs scored the second goal and put the game away. Nguyen galloped downfield on a counterattack with support from Juan Agudelo and Chris Tierney. Nguyen got into the box and played a long lateral ball on the ground to Agudelo, who controlled and then flicked into space on the left for Tierney. Tally Hall came out to challenge and Tierney played the ball over him, but it was headed up by Adam Moffat. Agudelo got to it and tried to side-foot it in, and ended up putting it in off of Ricardo Clark's leg for an own-goal.
After dominating possession in the first half, the Revs ended up finishing the match with just 46.5%, but it was the quality of the possession that counted. In the end, they were out-passed, out-shot, and committed more fouls, but they got it done. The performances of Fagundez, Simms, and Nguyen were particularly good, and Goncalves was again monstrous in defense.
Fagundez was subbed out of the game near the end with an apparent injury, though no word has come out yet on what it was. The Revs will be in action again next Saturday against Toronto back at Gillette Stadium.