Call it a fluke, call it a statement game, call it what you want. The New England Revolution welcomed the Seattle Sounders to Gillette Stadium on Sunday night and plastered them 5-0. A Man of the Match performance from Diego Fagundez drove the Revs to victory, with Teal Bunbury and Patrick Mullins pitching in goals as well.
Seattle came into the match looking to be the best team in the league, and unbeatable by quite a stretch. In truth, they dominated much of the match statistically, but on the scoreboard it was all New England. Mullins started the team off in the 14th minute with a clean-up goal, his second in as many matches. Fagundez knocked in his first of the season in the 29th minute, and the rout was on. Bunbury scored a bit of a freak goal in the 36th, and then Fagundez finished off a beautiful move in the 41st. A Chad Marshall own goal ended the scoring early in the second half.
"I thought we took our chances well," said Jay Heaps. "We're a team that, when we do take our chances, we're pretty dangerous, and I thought we took our chances tonight."
The Sounders owned much of the play in the early going. Bobby Shuttleworth had to make two very good saves in the third and fifth minutes to keep Seattle off the board as Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey terrorized the Revolution back line. Much of the play was stuck in the Revs' half, with Osvaldo Alonso and Gonzalo Pineda sweeping up everything and feeding the Rave Green attack.
Out of nowhere, the Revs got on the board. Chris Tierney played a one-two with Fagundez down the left, and the teenager whipped in a cross low across the face of goal with Mullins and Bunbury crashing the box. The ball got to Bunbury at the far post, who had an effort well-saved by Stefan Frei, but Mullins poked home the rebound to get the lead.
"I think [the goal] was another good switch in the play, a nice pass out to the left," said the rookie of his goal. "I wanted to make sure I put myself in a position to where, if the ball bounced my way, I was ready to pounce on it and finish it. It did, and I was there."
From that point it seemed like the Revs could do no wrong. Seattle continued to boss play and look dangerous, but the defensive work of A.J. Soares, Andrew Farrell, and Andy Dorman kept the visitors off the scoresheet.
Fagundez opened his account fifteen minutes later. A corner was cleared out to Tierney, who threaded a pass to Diego on the left. Fagundez cut inside onto his right foot, took a touch, and ripped a blistering shot inside the near post to double the advantage.
"It's a relief for me [to score]," Fagundez said after the match. "I've been waiting for this one a lot. Hopefully now I can start banging some in, because I've been looking for this for a while."
Then it was Bunbury's turn. In the 36th minute, he was played in diagonally by Lee Nguyen and had an effort on goal. Frei saved the first shot, but Bunbury fired the rebound at him from a tough angle, and the ball trickled underneath the keeper for goal number three.
The last goal of the half was a glittering bit of skill on the break. Bunbury received the ball in the opposite box and dribbled out into space in midfield, with Mullins ahead of him and Fagundez streaking into space down the right. Bunbury launched an ambitious cross-field aerial pass that dropped on Fagundez's chest with perfect accuracy, and all the diminutive winger had to do was touch it down and fire inside the far post to double his tally and bring the Revs' advantage to four goals.
And they weren't done. Right after the second half started, Bunbury flew into the box down the right and launched a cross from near the byline. It deflected off of Chad Marshall and wrong-footed Frei, rolling in for goal number five.
The offensive explosion is obviously the story, but it was also an inspired defensive performance from the two centerbacks and Dorman in the midfield. They had their hands full not only with Dempsey and Martins, arguably the most dangerous tandem in MLS, but also the quality of guys like Lamar Neagle and Marco Pappa. Nevertheless, the Revs kept a clean sheet.
"It's hard to stop them," said Heaps. "We tried to eliminate some of the service, but Dempsey and Martins can beat you in a lot of ways. We knew that they like going central, so we wanted to make sure that we had numbers around those two guys, and when they got the ball we had to get pressure to it immediately. They're going to get the ball, you just have to make sure that they're not getting it behind you."
That's three straight victories now against three of the biggest powers in this season's MLS: Kansas City, Toronto, and now Seattle. The scalps are big for the Revs as they attempt to assert themselves as favorites in the East.
New England will be back in action next weekend in Philadelphia against the Union.