After opening the season a disappointing 0-2-1, the New England Revolution have put together a winning streak. On Saturday night it was the Colorado Rapids who fell victim to a 2-0 performance from the Revs, who picked up their first-ever victory at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.
Juan Agudelo opened the scoring in the 18th minute, his first of the season. Lee Nguyen also picked up his first of the season, converting from the spot in the 54th minute.
Colorado opened the match strong, looking likely to break their season-long scoreless streak. However, in the 18th minute, Kelyn Rowe belted a long ball from deep in midfield toward Juan Agudelo, who was streaking into the box. Agudelo brought the ball down with his left and then flicked it over Clint Irwin with the outside of his right.
"I saw Kelyn pick his head up, and he's a player that has a great foot on him and was able to play a good long ball," said Agudelo. "I was able to take it down and chip it over the keeper. I'm just glad I was able to help my team out, it was a tough place to play with the altitude."
Agudelo probably should have doubled his tally in the 41st minute when he rose up in front of the penalty spot and snapped a header toward the ground. He did well to meet it, but the angle was off and it ended up bouncing over the crossbar.
Just a minute later, Bobby Shuttleworth made one of several crucial saves. Dillon Powers streaked into the box right through the middle and fired on goal, but somehow Shuttleworth's left hand was in the right place to send it over the bar.
In the second half, New England was the beneficiary of a soft penalty call to double their advantage. Charlie Davies muscled Bobby Burling off the ball and continued into the box. Jared Watts came across to challenge him, Davies went down, and Fotis Bazakos pointed to the spot.
Replays showed Watts giving a quick tug on Davies' arm, but it probably wasn't enough to impede the striker and there was no leg-to-leg contact. Nevertheless, the Revs got the benefit of the call, and Lee Nguyen buried the spot kick to make it 2-0.
Controversy reigned at around the 58th minute when Bazakos made yet another confusing call. Substitute Dominique Badji appeared to handle the ball at the edge of the box, but it went uncalled. He then delivered the ball to Juan Ramirez in the box, who was brought down by Darrius Barnes. Bazakos pointed to the spot, but his assistant waved his flag for offside, because Gabriel Torres had come back to the ball from an offside position.
Bazakos deferred to his assistant's offside call, but it looked as though the foul on Ramirez happened first and the penalty should have stood. In the aftermath, Marcelo Sarvas was shown a yellow card for dissent and head coach Pablo Mastroeni was sent off.
New England managed to ice the game after that, despite the obvious fatigue they were suffering from dude to the altitude. Jose Goncalves left the match in the middle of the second half with an apparent calf strain.
"This is a tough place to play," he said. "We've got some tired guys in there."