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Revs 3, DCU 2: Revolution show grit in win

The Revs grab three points despite not being at their “absolute best.”

MLS: D.C. United at New England Revolution Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Three points are always important, no matter how they’re earned. Such was the cause on Saturday night when the New England Revolution defeated Eastern Conference foe D.C. United 3-2.

The home side struck first when Diego Fagundez found Cristian Penilla in the 18th minute. The play began with sharp distribution from Matt Turner, who found Kristian Nemeth. Nemeth moved the ball quickly to his no. 10, who slide a low cross to Penilla. The Ecuadorian finished the deed to put Revs up 1-0.

“We have a pretty dynamic front four guys,” Matt Turner noted. “You can see that every time you give them some space, they run free and they look really dangerous. The more we can get them the ball in those open spaces, the better.”

The game returned to level terms in the 42nd minute when Yamil Asad was hit by Zoltan Stieber’s free kick. In a moment that can best be described as unique, Stieber’s take ricocheted off Asad’s face, which caught Turner by surprise.

The Revs regained the lead just before halftime when Teal Bunbury scored his 10th goal of the season. Bunbury did well to fend off a defender to get on the end of Jalil Anibaba’s long ball. The tally gave Bunbury a new career high.

Although his team had the lead, Brad Friedel wanted more from his players and decided to make two halftime substitutions with Wilfried Zahibo and Krisztian Nemeth making way for Kelyn Rowe and Juan Agudelo.

“I really wasn’t happy at halftime,” Friedel explained. “We had to make some adjustments. Yes, some words were said, but nothing that’s too different, that you wouldn’t do when you just want to try to win.”

D.C. United equalized in the 73rd minute when Asad scored from the spot. Referee Alan Kelly awarded the kick after Claude Dilena made contact with Darren Mattocks.

The Revs got a penalty of their own in the 78th minute when Andrew Farrell was taken down inside the box. Penilla stepped up and finished the ensuing kick, giving himself a brace and his team three points.

After the game, Friedel explained that he was happy to collect full points despite a lackluster performance.

“Thankfully, we got the three points,” Friedel said. “I think it’s a sign of a very good team, when you’re not at your absolute best and you can get the three points.”