It looked like they finally had it. For weeks, the New England Revolution have been settling for draw after draw, despite having the better of the play for long stretches, but on Saturday night, the Revs made it to the 90th minute with a 2-1 lead. They just couldn't make it hold up.
Carlos Rivas' goal just as stoppage time began had the Revolution staring at two points left on the table, wondering how yet another one slipped away. London Woodberry, beaten on the equalizer, slammed the turf in anguish, representative of the entire squad's feelings.
New England got off to a solid start, opening the scoring in just the eighth minute. Diego Fagundez took down a long diagonal ball from Gershon Koffie on the right, his touch taking him inside. He slipped the ball to Lee Nguyen in the box, who laid it back to Fagundez and allowed the young winger to finish with a deflection past Joe Bendik for the lead.
Orlando should have responded immediately, but Antonio Nocerino fired well wide from six yards out, unmarked. The Revs then squandered a couple of chances to extend their lead, including a mad scramble in the 20th minute that nearly saw Femi Hollinger-Janzen open his scoring account in his first start.
The visitors brought the match level in the 30th minute. Adrian Winter fought free down the right and knocked in a cross that glanced off Cyle Larin's head to Kevin Molino, who slipped his shot underneath Bobby Shuttleworth at an angle for the equalizer.
In the second half, Femi's relentless energy began to flag as the strain of a professional full 90 wore down the big rookie. Jay Heaps made the fateful decision in the 70th minute to bring on Juan Agudelo.
The man they call "Swagudelo" answered the bell just moments later. Nguyen played a diagonal to Kelyn Rowe, who crossed near post for Agudelo. The USA striker one-timed it home past Bendik to give the home side a well-earned lead.
Heartbreak came late. Cyle Larin fought through Jose Goncalves to get to the byline and get off a near-post cross. Woodberry apparently never saw Rivas coming as the young Colombian got ball-side of him and knocked it inside the near post to knot the game at 2-all with just stoppage time to remain.
Still the Revs nearly took the lead back. Two minutes into the stoppage, Daigo Kobayashi chipped a cross to Rowe, who headed back across the face of goal that a visibly-limping Donnie Smith volleyed on target. Bendik, though was equal to the task.
Just a minute or two after that, Agudelo rose highest to meet a cross from Goncalves, but his bullet header thudded off the crossbar.
The Revs are back in action on Sunday May 8th in Los Angeles against the Galaxy.