The New England Revolution overcame a 25th minute goal by Darwin Ceren of the Houston Dynamo with second half goals by Antonio Delamea and Teal Bunbury to grab three points at home with a 2-1 on Saturday night.
The Revs opened the second half of the season continuing their unbeaten streak in league play and continued to climb their way into the playoff race in the Eastern Conference. The win moved New England up to 9th place in the standings on 20 points, just three back of Toronto for 7th and the final playoff spot.
Matt Turner came up with a few key stops in the 22nd minute on a flurry of action in the box that saw Turner challenge Marlon Hairston in the goal area, and then charge out to make a sliding stop on Ceren. A few minutes later Ceren would net his first goal of the year off of a Romell Quioto corner that Andrew Farrell and DeJuan Jones were unable to clear.
Playing in just his sixth league game of the season and first since May 8th, Tony Delamea notched his first goal of the campaign with a header in the 51st minute off of a Diego Fagundez corner kick to tie the score at 1-1. Turner and Houston keeper Joe Willis both came up with big stops in the second half as each team made substitutions showing clear intentions of playing for the win with an important 3 points on the line.
Justin Rennicks did well in his first start with a few chances and making a case for more minutes in the second half of the season, but would eventually be subbed out for Christian Penilla, who would play a vital role in the game winner. In the 91st minute DeJuan Jones fed a pass down the left side to Penilla who weaved around two orange shirts and slipped a beautiful pass to the middle of the box to JF Caicedo for a give and go. Penilla received the ball back and cut down towards the goal line before passing across to Teal Bunbury who buried the game winner with a composed strike off of his left foot.
The game saw three cards to each side, with Delamea, Farrell, and Juan Agudelo shown yellows for the hosts, as well as Quioto, Juan David Cabezas, and Alejandro Fuenmayor receiving yellows for Houston. Quioto’s yellow very well could have been a red card, as he fired a ball towards the stands in what looked to be in response to an event from a minute earlier where a fan refused to toss the ball to a Dynamo player for a throw in, and instead threw it down the sideline away from the waiting player. Quioto gestured towards the section as he kicked the ball, completely unnecessary to go at a section full of kids like that.
A few takeaways from the evening…
- Justin Rennicks needs to see more minutes. Although it feels like he’s being pushed around at times, he’s still adjusting to playing in the MLS and he has a nose for the ball and a fearlessness for taking shots and attacking that the rest of the team should take note of.
- Diego Fagundez still can’t find his touch. After only playing 3 minutes as a late sub on Wednesday, and leaving before the hour mark on Saturday, I’m starting to wonder if his days in New England may be numbered. In 764 minutes this season he’s failed to score a goal, and has looked flat out lost and disinterested at times.
- As the saying goes, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.” Teal Bunbury came up clutch again tonight to earn the Revs the additional two points, but I’m not ready to forget about all of the missed opportunities and shots that have landed in the stands. He may be a solid option as a sub, or occasional starter, but I don’t believe he can be relied on to be a primary goal scorer for a team hopeful to make the playoffs.
- This win brings the unbeaten streak to 6 games ABF (After Brad Friedel) with three wins and three draws. If fans aren’t ready to mention the Revolution and playoffs in the same sentence yet, a strong showing against Colorado before heading to the nation’s capital to take on DC United in Rooney Vs. Turner Part 2 should get people excited.
The Revs next game will be a rare Thursday night matchup as they take on the Colorado Rapids at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park at 9PM ET on July 4th.