FOXBORO, Mass- The Revolution kept their playoff chances alive with a comeback win on Saturday night.
DC United silenced the Gillette Stadium crowd of 19,187 when they took the lead in the 10th minute off an own goal by Scott Caldwell. But the Revolution woke up in the second half as Diego Fagundez and Lee Nguyen both scored to deliver a 2-1 win and snapped a three-game winless streak.
"For me it was a really good turn around," said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. "In the second half we really took the game and created a lot of chances."
The Revolution outshot DC 22-8, but blew many of their chances. Nguyen was dragged down in the box in the 55th minute and had his ensuing penalty kick saved by DC's Bill Hamid. And in the first half, Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe and Dimitry Imbongo all shot wide of net on five separate chances.
That kind of effort in the attacking third suited DC, who were fortunate to take the lead.
"They had control of the match," explained Heaps. "Once they scored, they were able to tighten up. They were able to clear their lines better, have tighter spacing, and sit their defensive midfielders deeper."
On DC's lone goal, Caldwell, who has been one of the Revolution's most consistent players, committed an error when he slid a cross by Luis Silva into the back of the net. It was his first-ever own goal and it gave DC a life line.
"I misplayed it," explained Caldwell. "At the last second I saw [Reis] coming. I didn't have time to react."
"It's devastating when that happens but the way my teammates responded and played out the rest of the game is huge. We played to win the game and that's the big point. We won."
The Revolution were the better attacking team for the remainder of the match, however. Fagundez equalized in the 58th minute, moments after Nguyen had his penalty kick saved. Fagundez ran onto a through pass from Saer Sene and slotted the ball into the back of the net past Hamid for his team-leading 11th goal of the season.
"Sene saw me right away," said Fagundez. "He played a good through ball and I just had to finish the goal. Lee went down and we had to try to push him up. After that goal he definitely got his energy back."
New England went after the go-ahead goal following Fagundez' strike. Nguyen hit the crossbar from 20 yards out in the 68th minute, collected his own rebound, and then fired another shot from outside the penalty area that Hamid dove left to parry.
Nguyen redeemed himself in the 83rd minute when he was dragged down in the penalty area by Lewis Neal and stepped up to take the ensuing penalty kick. On his second try, Nguyen buried the chance, chipping the ball into the right side of the net.
"You're talking to a guy who's missed a couple of penalty kicks in his career," Heaps said of himself with a chuckle. "That's a gutsy performance from [Nguyen]. It's not easy."
"It was great to have [the] confidence from my teammates and the coaching staff. After that, I---," Nguyen trailed off, doing the sign of the cross.
"Credit to Hamid, he made a great first save," Nguyen continued. "But we never gave up. We knew we would get chances."
Was there any chance that someone else would take the second penalty kick instead of Nguyen?
"Saer probably wanted it," added Nguyen with a smile. "I wanted it bad. I needed to redeem myself after the first one. You're always going to be confident with your teammates behind you. They told me, 'this is you.'"
Meanwhile, Matt Reis only made two saves, but was named the match MVP. That's because seconds before Nguyen converted from the penalty mark, Reis made a key stop. Conor Doyle tried chipping Reis from ten yards out, but Reis turned around and ran back to his net before sprawling out and palming the ball away from the goal line.
That save brought the entire crowd, the biggest at Gillette Stadium this season, to its feet.
"The ball fell to Doyle," explained Reis. "I came out, I knew he was going to play it over me, luckily I didn't get too far off the ground so I could recover and push it away."
"I thought if we kept playing well, which we were doing, eventually it was going to come," said Reis of the Revolution's performance.
"I was happy I could make the save and keep us in it. We've been through a lot as a team. To get all three points is huge. We have to take care of our stuff at home. It's getting down to five games left and there's going to be games where we're down and we have to fight back. We showed a lot of resiliency tonight."
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