Playoffs? Are the New England Revolution talking playoffs? They might be after a massive prime-time victory over Sporting Kansas City on Friday night. The nation watched on NBC Sports Network as the Revs emerged 3-2 winners in the nation's heartland.
New England jumped out to a lead in the first half through Kelyn Rowe and captain Jose Goncalves, but quickfire responses in the second half from Paulo Nagamura and Dom Dwyer leveled the scores and shifted momentum. It took a moment of individual brilliance from the Revs' big-money player Jermaine Jones to finish the job for the East's newest second-placed team.
Rowe put the Revs up in 22nd minute not with his usual blast from distance, but with a skillful tap. Kevin Alston played in a beautiful curving cross from the right that pushed Eric Kronberg into no-man's land, and when it reached the far post, Rowe was there to slip it home with his left off the post.
Goncalves doubled the lead in the 35th minute in almost comical fashion. The captain received the ball in defense and strode forward through midfield unchallenged. He kept pushing on, looking for a passing outlet but finding instead a swath of open green before him. Finally, after baiting Matt Besler with a feinted shot, Goncalves just ripped one low from outside the box and blasted it past Kronberg.
The second half quickly became Kansas City's time to shine. In just two minutes, they went from 2-0 down to 2-2 tied. It began in the 54th minute through Nagamura, who simply pushed his way into the box through the right channel and finished above a despairing Bobby Shuttleworth to halve the deficit.
Just two minutes later, Dom Dwyer demonstrated his credentials as an elite MLS goalscorer. Toni lifted a ball to the far post that found the head of Nagamura, who flicked it across the face of goal to allow Dwyer to simply nod home point-blank.
Kansas City owned the momentum at that point, but the Revolution bent without breaking for nearly half an hour. Shuttleworth made several key saves to maintain the draw and, despite the early lead, Revolution fans would be forgiven for being happy with the draw.
Jermaine Jones had other ideas.
In the 85th minute, reminiscent of Goncalves' earlier goal, Jones found himself just outside the box in acres of space. This time, he had been sent a lateral ball by Lee Nguyen about 40 yards from goal. The pocket of space around him was enormous, and Jones took a few touches forward before drilling a daisy-cutter past Kronberg for the win.
The Revs are back in action on Saturday the 4th against Columbus.