The New England Revolution went down to Washington and earned a valuable three points against D.C. United, winning 2-1 in a match that ended in a balmy downpour. Luis Silva opened the scoring early in the first half, but the Revs came roaring back in the second through Dimitry Imbongo and Diego Fagundez.
The Revs had struggled hard in two previous meetings with D.C., drawing 0-0 at home and losing 3-1 in the Open Cup in Maryland, despite the fact that United sports the worst record in MLS. On a night where the referee did neither team any favors - several clear penalty shouts were turned down and both sides suffered from missed calls - New England finally managed to assert itself as the better team and get the needed result.
New England got off to a very poor start, and Kyle Porter nearly capitalized in the 7th minute when he picked up his own rebound and pushed his shot just wide of the far post. Just a minute later, Silva didn't miss after he was set up about 20-25 yards out. His low shot appeared to have Bobby Shuttleworth unsighted, and his late reaction saw it nestle into the back of the net.
Daniel Woolard nearly doubled the advantage in the 10th minute, but Fagundez headed the goal-bound ball off the line. By this point the Revs were in full panic mode, and D.C. continued to press the advantage. Porter had another shot blocked in the 17th minute.
Fortunes began to change in the 20th as the Revs got their best chance of the match to that point. Andrew Farrell volleyed a cleared ball back into the box for Sene, who got in on goal but had his shot smothered one-on-one with Joe Willis. New England started to claw their way back into the game, and in the 36th minute, an intelligent cut-back from Imbongo set up Kelyn Rowe perfectly, but his shot from the penalty spot was somehow parried away by Willis.
The second half got underway with a substitution, as Scott Caldwell replaced Clyde Simms. In the 51st minute, Lee Nguyen and Imbongo worked a one-two that had Nguyen in free and clear, but Willis came out and took him down in the box. The referee, however, declined to make the call, as he had already done previously in the match.
The Revs finally found the breakthrough in the 54th minute. Jose Goncalves passed out wide to Chris Tierney, who delivered an excellent whipping cross into the box that froze Willis and found the foot of Imbongo in the middle of the six. The Congolese striker finished easily for his third goal of the season.
New England took the lead not much later, in the 63rd minute. Imbongo took down an aerial ball on the touchline and dribbled inside, taking the ball into the attacking third. He cut inside and played a good diagonal ball to Saer Sene, who hesitated and then hit a masterful curling shot on goal that just bounced off the underside of the crossbar. Fagundez, who had a quiet night overall, was on hand to clean up, though, heading the ball in from inside the six.
United created some nervy moments near the end of the match as they started throwing numbers forward and trying to gain the equalizer, but the Revs were able to hold on and get the win. Amusingly, the referee blew the whistle for full time while Saer Sene was all alone and bearing down on an empty net following a set-piece clearance. It had no real effect on the outcome, but it was strange to see the ref blow the game dead during a clear goalscoring opportunity, and with goals scored now the main tie-breaker, perhaps that's a goal that comes back to haunt the Revs in the end. Regardless, three points are three points.
With that win, the Revs also find themselves in 5th place. It's perhaps temporary, as other matches have yet to be played, but it's still a good place to be for the time being.
Perhaps even more important than the win - in the grand scheme of life, at least - was the reappearance of Kevin Alston. Imbongo left the match late through injury, and he was replaced by the speedy defender, who made his first appearance since his diagnosis with a form of leukemia. Alston's treatment has gone so well that he is cleared to play again, and everyone in Revs nation, and indeed all of MLS, is happy to see him healthy and on the field.
The Revolution will be back in action again on August 4th at home to Toronto, after the All-Star Break.
More from The Bent Musket:
- Revolution vs. United 2013: Game Two Full Coverage
- New England Hoping to Pull Within a Point of Philadelphia in I95 Cup
- Revolution vs. United 2013: Preview, Notes, and Injury Report Part Deux
- CONCACAF Suspends USMNT's Klinsmann, But Why The Long Process?
- Breakers vs. Washington Spirit 2013: Match Preview