The New England Revolution snapped their losing streak and their winless streak at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night when they beat New York City FC 1-0. A win is a win, and the Revs were clearly the superior force for most of the match, but could have been made to pay for severely profligate finishing.
Lee Nguyen kicked off the scoring right off the bat, reversing the recent Revolution trend of falling behind early. In the 12th minute, Diego Fagundez took a backheel pass from Daigo Kobayashi and then slid an inch-perfect diagonal floor pass that split the defense and caught Nguyen by himself streaking into the box. The 2014 league MVP finalist cut back to his right and ripped a low curling drive inside the far post for a goal.
The match flipped in the 55th minute when Sorin Stoica went straight to his back pocket and reduced New York to ten men. Ned Grabavoy challenged Kobayashi for a ball, and left his leg high with his studs up. He caught Kobayashi's thigh, and Stoica wasted no time flashing the red and giving the veteran midfielder his marching orders.
Some quick reaction points:
- Diego Fagundez had a fantastic game. He had the assist on Nguyen's goal and was a key figure in breakaways and creative passages of play all night. He still occasionally holds the ball too long, and at one point Jason Hernandez totally owned him by just playing his tendency to cut inside on his right, but he as arguably the most dangerous player on the pitch all evening.
- Charlie Davies easily could have had a hat-trick on the night. He had so many opportunities throughout the match, including one where he hit the crossbar on a breakaway, but he mostly couldn't even get it on frame. On the positive side, he was consistently in dangerous positions and you have to figure on another day he finishes at least one of those chances.
- Although they had a man advantage for 35 minutes, they spent the first 55 doing a very good job of tracking and containing David Villa. The Spaniard still looked dangerous, but he was unable to influence play even with a full complement of players around him.
- Brad Knighton deputized for Bobby Shuttleworth, who is rumored to have a concussion. Knighton was immense on the evening, making a series of sure-handed saves and disrupting crosses all over the box.