This will not go down as the New England Revolution's best performance in 2016. However, for seemingly the first time this season, the Revs will get rewarded for battling for 90 minutes and getting three points instead of a draw.
London Woodberry scored his first MLS goal and Kelyn Rowe blasted a long range winner as the Revs defeated the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 inside the closed roof at BC Place.
After a tepid first twenty minutes, Rowe would have the game's first chance when he smashed a header off the crossbar from a brilliant feed from Chris Tierney. The rebound would come to Lee Nguyen at the top of the box but the Revs playmaker couldn't create a second chance as Vancouver cleared. Minutes later it was Kei Kamara unable to put a bouncing ball from Daigo Kobyashi on frame after the Japanese midfielder had a brilliant run and combination into the box.
But at the half hour mark, Kamara would draw a foul from Whitecaps defender Tim Parker and Lee Nguyen would send the set piece to the back post where Woodberry would rise up and finish. It was the former FC Dallas homegrown player's first league goal.
While the emphatic finish gave the Revs the lead, ten minutes later it would be Woodberry giving away a free kick that would lead to the equalizer. The Revs goal scorer was booked in the 40th minute and on the ensuing dead ball, Nicolas Mezquida hit a perfect ball up and over the wall to strand Revs keeper Brad Knighton and tie the game.
Coming out at halftime, the back and forth nature of the game returned as Vancouver started brightly with two chances from Mezquida and Erik Hurtado, the latter being saved comfortably by Knighton.
In the 55th minute, Kobayashi would force a turnover from Vancouver's Russell Teibert, who went down looking for a foul though Ismail Elfath saw only a clean challenge. Teal Bunbury took over and fired a cross low across the top of the box to Rowe who fired a glorious one-time past David Ousted.
For the rest of the match, the Revs seemed content to sit back and play defense, and Vancouver nearly made them play on multiple occasions. Kekutah Manneh had back to back chances a minute apart in the 69th and 70th minutes with Knighton saving the first and the second missing high. Numerous loose balls fell inside the Revs penalty area from corners and set pieces only to be eventually scrambled away by the Revolution defense.
A handball foul from Rowe set up a dangerous free kick in the 78th for Miller Bolanos though his initial ball and a follow up effort were both blocked. Jose Goncalves was booked late in the match for going over the back on Blas Perez just moments after the two got into a small disagreement inside the Revs area. Eventually the Revolution were able to see out the game and claim a vital three points.
But statistically, this was a game largely dominated by Vancouver, who had a 63.5-36.5% edge in possession and also out passed the Revs 463-270 for the game as the Whitecaps completed 84% of their passes to New England's 63%. Even the Revs usual dominance in the final third wasn't there tonight, as Vancouver completed more passes at a higher percentage in the Revs defensive third.
The win temporarily puts the Revs above the red line and into 6th place in the East with 19 points from a 4-4-7 record though at fifteen games played most teams in the East have a game in hand. Vancouver in fourth in the West on 21 points with a 6-7-3 record and have a wins tiebreaker over LA and San Jose who also have 21 points.
The New England Revolution's next game will be Saturday, June 25th at DC United, a game that was recently moved from midweek to the current weekend time. The Revs will also play at the New York Cosmos of the NASL in the 5th round of the US Open Cup on June 29th.