With the game tied 2-2 in the 85th minute, Jermaine Jones controlled a pass from Lee Nguyen and marched towards the goal. Jones had his eyes on the lower right corner and with no pressure from the Sporting KC backline, the midfielder cocked back his leg before riffling a shot past Eric Kronberg from 30 yards out. It wasn’t quite the curling beauty that Jones scored against Portugal at the World Cup, but it was still exceptional.
"I’ve seen him shoot those," head coach Jay Heaps said in his postgame press conference." If you give him a little bit of space, he’s going to rocket it. I was just happy he got his first goal here. That was something special. To be a game winner, in a tight game, in a big playoff implication game was huge."
The goal came after the New England Revolution lost the two-goal lead that they earned in the first half. Strikes from Kelyn Rowe and Jose Goncalves were later negated by Paulo Nagamura and Dom Dwyer, who scored within two minutes of each other.
After the game, Jones admitted that he felt a burden placed on him once his team lost the lead.
"I think after two-two from Kansas City, I was a little bit upset," Jones reflected. "I think it was my mistake. After that goal, I said I have to step and help the team come back and take a point or maybe a win."
Heading into the game, there were questions about the amount of time that Jones would be able to contribute. The Designated Player has been struggling with a leg injury since receiving several hard tackles from Montreal’s Callum Mallace on September 13th. The following week, Jones only played 45 minutes after entering at halftime.
The Revolution coaching staff has taken a cautious approach when it comes to Jones, especially because he tends to be targeted by opponents. As the game waned, Jones was asked about how he felt. The World Cup veteran made it clear that he wanted to stay on the field.
"Jermaine had to gut it out," Heaps explained. "He doesn’t fully have the fitness, but I thought his performance was spot on and his goal was much deserved."