One month ago the New England Revolution were mired in an eight-game losing streak and not playing a particularly good brand of soccer. But now with seven points out of a possible twelve from their last four games, the Revs have remained in the thick of a very tight playoff race in the Eastern Conference.
Lee Nguyen scored early in the second half and Bobby Shuttleworth made four saves as the Revolution defeated Chivas USA 1-0 in shutout fashion at Gillette Stadium.
After a lackluster first half by both teams and despite the Revolution controlling much of the possession and solid efforts from Nguyen in the 20th and 36th minutes, the second half started off with a caution to A.J. Soares for persistent infringement. Soares committed his fourth foul of the game in the 48th minute against Erick Torres prompting center referee David Gantar to issue the second caution of the game. Erick Torres was booked in the first half for a foul in the 15th minute.
Gantar would go back to his yellow card minutes later, when Chivas defender Tony Lochhead slid through Charlie Davies in the 53rd minute. It was a heavy challenge that caught Davies in the ankle and drew some protests for a straight red card although Gantar optioned for just the caution.
But the Revs were still dominating the possession and putting pressure on Dan Kennedy's net, including Daigo Kobayashi's effort that just went over the bar in the 54th, and the Revs found the breakthrough in the 56th minute. Diego Fagundez switched the attack to Kelyn Rowe on the right side, and Rowe found Daigo Kobayashi on a first touch and Daigo tried to play an nifty one-two with a backheel. Rowe contested the pass with a Chivas defender and the ball came to Lee Nguyen, who had space to take a touch and unleash a shot from the top of the box that flew past Kennedy into the back of the net. It was Lee's team leading 9th goal of the season and first since a double against Colorado earlier in the month.
Despite dominating the possession, the Goats would not go quietly and began their comeback through Felix Borja in the 65th and Torres in the 72nd forcing Revs keeper Shuttleworth into action with two smart saves. But with Chivas pushing forward, the Revs found opportunities of their own through substitute Steve Neumann in the 76th minute.
Charlie Davies put in a solid shirt for eighty minutes but was substituted for Revs debutant Tony Taylor, acquired earlier in the week through an MLS weighted lottery. The Revolution defense also put together a very clean game, with only 5 fouls committed by the Revolution as a team in the game, compared to 20 for Chivas USA.
Overall, the scoreboard doesn't indicate the dominance the Revs had on the stat sheet. With a 65-35% edge in possession and attempting 524 passes (and completing 82%) to Chivas' 278 (62%) and out shooting the Goats 9-7 in total, it was a tremendous team effort from start to finish.
With the win the Revs move to 30 points on the year and a 9-12-3 record, which keeps them 6th place in the East, 1 point behind the New York Red Bulls and 3 points behind the Columbus Crew, who have played one more game.
The Revolution's next game will be at Toronto FC next Saturday at 5PM EST.