FOXBORO, Mass- Adam Moffat scored twice in the second half to lift the Houston Dynamo over the Revolution, 2-1, at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night in front of 14,357.
After a first half that saw no shots on goal from either team, Moffat finally broke through in the 49th minute, scoring from long range following a corner kick. Saer Sene helped wake up the Revolution (6-6-6, 24 points) in the 55th minute when he equalized off a feed from Diego Fagundez, but Moffat scored the game-winner in the 79th minute with a shot that ricocheted into the net after coming off both the post and the back of Bobby Shuttleworth.
"We werent good enough," Revolution coach Jay Heaps after the game. "The onus is on us. We didn't react well. We need to be better, we need to be stronger in the reaction."
"We're disappointed in the overall performance. We just didn't start the game with that bright spark that we should have. It took us a little too long to get into the game."
The Revolution, who entered the match just two points behind Houston, could have slotted into playoff position with a victory. But they didn't resemble anything close to a playoff caliber team on Saturday night, as their play was lethargic and predictable.
Houston skated into Gillette Stadium and controlled the game from the opening whistle, despite being without starters Cory Ashe, Will Bruin, and Brad Davis, who are all currently away with the US national team on Gold Cup duty. In the first half, they won 60 percent of the possession while the Revolution were unable to muster even one attacking chance.
The Revolution eventually succumbed to Houston's pressure in the second half when Moffat opened the scoring.
The goal came in the 49th minute, when Andrew Driver sent an out-swinging corner kick into the penalty area that Chad Barrett headed away. Moffat, about 25 yards from goal, controlled the clearance before firing a bullet that sailed right through the hands of Bobby Shuttleworth.
Shuttleworth was reviewing the goals he allowed on his iphone at his locker before being interviewed by reporters.
"It pops out and I can't see the ball, I can't see him, I'm trying to find where it is and I don't see it until it's right over my head," explained Shuttleworth after turning his phone off. "I'm trying to react fast enough. I got my fingertips on it but not enough to put it over."
"You're not going to see a ball struck like that too often. Sometimes you just have to tip your hat. He just smashed it. That first one is most likely going to be up for goal of the year."
Houston's goal did wake up the Revolution attack, which was otherwise listless until that point. In the 55th minute, Fagundez made a run into the right side of the penalty area and drove a pass into the six-yard box. Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall knocked the chance away, but only as far Sene, who easily poked the loose ball into the back of the net for his third goal of the season.
The level scoreline ended up being short-lived. Moffat tallied again, scoring the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute by firing a blast from just outside the penalty area that came off the right post and then deflected off the back of a diving Shuttleworth and into the net.
"I'm just landing from trying to stretch out to tip it around the post and it hits my back and goes right in," explained Shuttleworth again. "That's never happened to me before."
"I'll take the blame," said Chris Tierney. "I went to close, I thought I had my angles right and it just knicked off my ankles. It's tough for Bobby, goes off the the post and right in."
Moffat's second goal marked just the second time this season that the Revolution have allowed more than one goal at home. His first goal ended the Revolution's four-game home shutout streak.
"We were disappointed in that we gave up a goal at home, followed up, get one back, and then give up another one," said Heaps. "They were deep range shots. Overall, we didn't play well enough when we had the chance."
New England attempted a late rally, but were thrown off when Dimitry Imbongo, who entered the game for Chad Barrett late in the second half, was red carded in the 82nd minute for elbowing Eric Brunner.
The Revolution pressed following Imbongo's ejection, though they sorely missed the presence of another attacking player in the waning minutes of the half. Houston easily closed out the remainder of the match and sealed up a necessary win that keeps them in the fifth and final playoff place, four points ahead of the Revolution.
"We have to put this one behind us," said Tierney. "It was a big game but we didn't get the result we wanted. If we go on the road here and get a couple of results we're right back in the mix. "
The Revolution will be on the road for three consecutive games starting with a match at Colorado on Wednesday.
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