As it turns out, the goal glut on Mother's Day wasn't a fluke. The New England Revolution went to Philadelphia, in a place where they'd never won a match, and dropped another five spot, this time on the Philadelphia Union en route to a 5-3 victory. The Revs were uncharacteristically deadly with set-pieces, a factor that lead directly to two of the goals.
A.J. Soares kicked off the scoring with his first of the year, before Diego Fagundez made it three in his last two later in the first half. Vincent Nogueira knocked in a screamer to close out the half's scoring and cut the Revs lead to one, but not long into the second half, Lee Nguyen put one away to restore the two-goal advantage. Later, Chris Tierney drilled an excellent free kick to make it four goals, and then Patrick Mullins got his third in three games to make it five. Sheanon Williams fired in a consolation goal for Philly, and Sebastien Le Toux finished a penalty in stoppage time to complete the scoring.
The Revs entered Saturday night's match without a single victory at PPL Park since the Union joined the league in 2010. However, after breaking their BMO Field hex a couple weeks back by beating Toronto in Toronto, there had to be a sense that tonight might be the night, especially given the run of form the Revs have enjoyed in recent weeks.
Nguyen nearly opened the scoring in the second minute, but took too long in the box to get his shot off and was put off by Raymond Gaddis. Eleven minutes later, New England had their early goal. An excellent Tierney delivery from a free kick at the edge of the box found the head of Soares at the near post, and he drilled it home emphatically.
It was 2-0 in the 26th minute after a well-worked and opportunistic goal on the break. Nguyen dropped a ball in behind for Teal Bunbury, who had split a disorganized Philly defense and found himself in acres of space. Bunbury attacked the goal from the left corner of the box, and then laid the ball into the path of a charging Fagundez, who actually overran it in the box but recovered in time to fire past Zac MacMath for his third goal in two games.
Nogueira pulled one back for the Union in the 36th minute with a moment of brilliance. A Philadelphia corner was cleared out to the top of the box, where Danny Cruz flicked it lazily into Nogueira's path and the Frenchman ripped a half-volley that nearly burst out the back of the net, leaving Brad Knighton with no chance.
After the half, it might have looked as though the Union were going to pull themselves back into the match, but Nguyen put that to bed in the 49th minute. He was fed into the box by Daigo Kobayashi, and his first touch took him close to the touchline just outside the six-yard box. Nguyen cut back cleverly and fired for the near post, catching a piece of MacMath on the way in.
A foul on Bunbury in the 57t minute set up goal number four for the Revs. Nguyen, Kobayashi, and Tierney stood over it. Nguyen ran up to take it first, but ran over it instead, and then Tierney stepped up and blasted a curving shot around the wall and inside the far post. The goal was the second that was created by a set-piece, an area where the Revs have been struggling for some time.
In the 67th minute, Fagundez and Patrick Mullins found themselves in a two-on-one bearing down on the Union box. Mullins passed the ball laterally to Fagundez, who took it into the box but perhaps passed up a good opportunity to shoot by trying to cut it back in on his right foot. However, Mullins crossed behind Fagundez, and the teen phenom laid it back to the rookie, who got it on his left foot and drilled the ball home.
Comfortable in their 5-1 dominance, the Revs let up a little at the end of the match. In the 76th minute, a Le Toux cross after a set-piece found the Revs sleeping in the box, and when the ball ended up at the feet of Sheanon Williams just outside the six, there was nothing Knighton could do to keep it out of the net. Then, in stoppage time, Andrew Farrell was called for a clumsy challenge on Antoine Hoppenot, and Le Toux buried the ensuing penalty to help the scoreline look slightly less-unflattering to the Union.
That's ten goals in the last two matches for the Revs, and their winning streak has now extended to four games. They are also unbeaten in their last six, with an incredible 5-0-1 record. At home or on the road, the Revs are getting it done right now, and for at least a few hours will be in sole possession of first place in the East.
New England is back in action next Saturday at home against D.C.
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