On a hot summer's night, the New England Revolution's resident French strikers were the heroes, scoring two goals (both assisted by Lee Nguyen) to ensure the mid-season win and elevating the team up the Eastern Conference standings to 5th place.
Saer Sene opened the scoring in the 13th minute and Dimitry Imbongo added an insurance goal in the 78th minute to close out the Independence Day Weekend home win. Their opponents, the San Jose Earthquakes, looked dogged all night by the heat, and their having played mid-week against the Chicago Fire surely did not help their case at Gillete Stadium.
The packed house in Foxboro were loud and proud from the very first minute to the very last. Jay Heaps rewarded last week's late-game hero Chad Barrett with his second start of the season, sitting atop the now-customary 4-1-4-1 formation as the lone striker and making himself a nuisance to the Quakes' backline all night.
Barrett was only one storyline coming into the evening. The other was Saer Sene, who was in the MLS rumor mill this week as it was learned that the striker has been drawing interest from a handful of French Ligue 1 clubs. It was Sene who caused arguably the most trouble for San Jose from the very get go, finding his way through tight spaces as early as in the 2nd minute when Quakes keeper Jon Busch stopped his early shot. Busch denied Sene yet again in the 13th minute before Barret and Lee Nguyen intelligently recycled the rebound for Sene's second shot, which found the back corner of the net with ease.
Barrett looked eager to combine with team-leading goal scorer Diego Fagundez in the first half, attempting to layoff a sitter to the youngster in the 20th minute and then attempting to chip a half-shot, half-cross his way again in the 28th minute, but Fagundez was unable to connect on either chance. Andrew Farrell made his presence known in the attack as well, maneuvering through a number of San Jose defenders and ripping a close-range shot on goal that was thwarted by Busch for what might very well be the MLSSoccer.com Save Of The Week.
Going into the halftime up only a goal despite a handful of excellent chances, the Revs surely knew that an insurance goal would be needed, and they pushed San Jose for exactly that throughout the 2nd half. Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, and Chris Tierney all had their opportunities, but were unable to find the back of the net for most of the half. San Jose, on the other hand, still found their chances to be scarce, and seemed more and more unlikely as the game progressed.
In the 68th minute, Chad Barrett's impressive and energetic shift was concluded, making way for Dimitry Imbongo who provided to be the missing piece in front of net come the final whistle. Rowe and Nguyen set up a neat counter attack play that met Imbongo's physical lunge in the box that resulted in the insurance goal that New England was looking for.
After that, it was all up to the Revolution's stout and stingy defense to secure their 10th shutout of the season. Captain Jose Goncalves and his backline did not disappoint, keeping the Earthquakes at bay until the final whistle and giving the 13,732 Foxboro faithful a much-needed and much-deserved win.
The Revs will look to keep their winning ways alive when they host the Houston Dynamo in a week's time.