The New England Revolution ended the 2017 preseason on a high note.
Just days after scoring six goals in a rout of Sporting Kansas City, the Revs dominated the New York Red Bulls II, 2-0, during the Desert Diamond Cup finale. A first-choice lineup for Jay Heaps went the distance, with goals from Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen powering the victory.
Though the Revolution created the lion’s share of first-half chances, the sides entered the break in a scoreless deadlock. Kei Kamara and Lee Nguyen connected on the most promising opportunity of the first 45, with Kamara executing a skillful heel flick into the center of the box while streaming down the right side of the field. Nguyen uncharacteristically took a heavy first touch that ended the threat.
Later in the first half, Nguyen returned the favor by sending a clever through ball over the top and into the box. The pass beat Kamara by a half step and fell into keeper Rafael Diaz’s lap, again ending a promising opportunity.
The Revolution finally broke through in the 52nd minute, when Diego Fagundez delivered a flawless through ball to Kelyn Rowe, who made a curling run past the RBNY back line. With a one-time shot, Rowe beat Diaz to give the Revs a 1-0 advantage.
Ten minutes later, Kamara seemed poised to double the lead, having taken advantage of a defensive miscue that left him behind Diaz and one-on-one with a Red Bulls defender. Yet in front of an open net, Kamara put his shot off the post and back in front of goal.
On an ensuing possession, the Red Bulls nearly leveled the match by creating a one-on-one chance with Revs keeper Cody Cropper. The former U.S. Youth International proved up to the task, however, making a pair of big-time saves.
For the remaining 30 minutes, the Revolution back line held tight, with newcomers Antonio Delamea and Benjamin Angoua playing mistake-free soccer. Donnie Smith, in the Starting XI for the injured Chris Tierney, also impressed. The Charlotte alum used his pace to lock down the left side of the field and offered consistently-dangerous service until he left the match in the 82nd minute.
In the dying minutes, Je-Vaughn Watson set up Lee Nguyen for a knockout punch. Moving with pace down the left side of the field, Watson sent a cross in front of goal, which found Nguyen just outside the six-yard box. Nguyen finished with ease to give the Revs a 2-0 advantage.
Though missed opportunities kept the Revs from running away with a more convincing victory, the club turned in a sound defensive performance—and created numerous goal-scoring chances—en route to a 2-0 win.
The next time the Revs suit up, the club will take on the Colorado Rapids to open the 2017 MLS season. Match kicks off at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday.