There are no more unbeaten teams in MLS. The New England Revolution welcomed the New York Red Bulls to Gillette Stadium on Saturday night and emerged victorious, ending their rivals' undefeated start to the 2015 season.
Charlie Davies scored his third goal of the season - in as many consecutive matches - to start things off, before Teal Bunbury added another in the second half. Sacha Kljestan pulled one back for the Red Bulls, but it wasn't enough, and the Revolution remain in first place in the East.
"Look, it was an Eastern Conference match, I thought it was hard fought both ways," said Jay Heaps. "I thought we came out and started that game on the right foot and really did a nice job for the first 15 or 20 minutes, and then in the first half, toward the end, they took control of it and did a nice job. I thought we re-approached the game in the second half in the right way and had a few chances to put it away, but you credit the New York team because they never gave up and fought all the way to the end."
Charlie Davies got the scoring started by generally just being Charlie Davies, with a lot of help from London Woodberry. Woodberry played in a whipping, dipping, pinpoint cross from the right side in the ninth minute, and Davies pushed his way ball-side of Matt Miazga to put a diving header into the back of the net. The ball went over Luis Robles, who got a hand to it but could not stop it.
New York grew into the game as the match went on, eventually dominating the latter part of the first half. Mike Grella blasted a shot over from fairly close range in the 38th minute, and Felipe forced a routine save from Bobby Shuttleworth in the 41st.
"Those guys, they're a good team, and they came to play," said Woodberry. "Obviously they had a tough week, they made some changes, but those guys who stepped in obviously wanted to make an impression to their coach and try to get a result here."
Woodberry was referring to New York's heavy schedule this past week, which saw them face Los Angeles and Colorado on Sunday and Wednesday, respectively. Both were home games, but it made for three matches in a span of seven days.
The second half kicked off much like the first, with the Revs in the drivers' seat. Teal Bunbury nearly got on the board in the 47th minute with a terrific volley that he pulled just wide, before nearly setting up Kelyn Rowe just a few minutes later with a low cross that Luis Robles just covered.
The introduction of Lee Nguyen in the 56th minute, who missed training earlier this week for "personal matters," had a nearly immediate impact on the match.
Scott Caldwell started a signature Revolution counter-attack in the 60th minute with an interception deep in New England territory. The ball eventually got to Nguyen, who played it forward to Charlie Davies. Davies lost it momentarily but recovered at the touchline and dropped a ball in ahead for Juan Agudelo. Agudelo slipped it back to Davies, who played laterally to Caldwell. Caldwell touched it into the box for Nguyen, who flicked wide for an open Teal Bunbury, and Bunbury finished the job on a brilliant team goal with a laser finish at close range.
"I thought it was a lot of good play," said Heaps of the goal. "I thought we pushed hard, we did a lot of nice little things and we made those angled passes. And Teal did a great job of staying wide, so when Scotty and Lee were able to combine, Teal was in the perfect spot so the ball went right to him."
That was when the Red Bulls brought in their big guns. Bradley Wright-Phillips entered the match in the 61st minute, and then Lloyd Sam in the 63rd, and they began to wreak havoc on the Revolution defense. Still, Davies nearly made it three in the 70th minute when Lee Nguyen played him into a one-on-one with Robles starting at the centerline, but his toe-poke finish at the end of a long run went wide with Dane Richards bearing down on him from behind.
Mike Grella and Sacha Kljestan combined to put the Red Bulls on the board and cut the deficit in half in the 73rd minute. Grella headed on a long ball and a miscommunication between Jermaine Jones and Bobby Shuttleworth let it bounce freely in no-man's land between the top of the box and the goal. Kljestan filled the space, danced past an onrushing Shuttleworth, and finished into an open net.
New York continued to pour on the pressure, leaving chances for the Revs on the break, but in the end the score stayed at 2-1. Jose Goncalves eventually made his first appearance since injuring his calf against Colorado, replacing Andy Dorman and allowing Jermaine Jones to push up into midfield.
Speaking of Jones, there was an altercation at the end of the match involving Jones and a couple of Red Bulls players. Initially Jermaine appeared to take issue with Felipe, but it was Anatole Bertrand Abang wh drew the worst of it as most of each team's players came together after the match and nearly came to blows.
"I don't know what happened," said Heaps. "For me, that stuff used to always happen. You're playing Chicago Fire, you're playing New York Red Bulls, there's going to be guys that are getting after it. And I thought the game showed that. There was a lot of intensity in that game."
The Revs return to action on Friday in Florida against Orlando City.