FOXBORO, Mass.- There was a time when Andy Dorman's inclusion in the Revolution's starting lineup was a given.
That time is long gone.
But last night, Dorman made a triumphant return to the starting lineup and was involved in all three of the Revolution's goals in their crucial 3-2 victory over the Columbus Crew at Gillette Stadium.
He slotted in for Lee Nguyen in midfield, who was serving a one-game suspension for yellow card accumulation, and drew fouls that led to AJ Soares' goal off a freekick in the 32nd minute plus a penalty kick that Chris Tierney converted in the 69th, and assisted on Diego Fagundez' game-winning goal in the 76th.
"[Nguyen] has been high-standard all season, so filling his boots obviously was difficult," said Dorman after the game. "He is really technical and really good on the ball and has done well this season... I haven’t played too much this season so it was nice to get out there and get the three points."
It's been a bumpy road for Dorman since he re-joined the Revolution last Fall following stints in Scotland and England with St. Mirren, Crystal Palace, and Bristol Rovers. He's made just two starts this season and Saturday night's was his first since a 4-1 loss to New York on Apr. 20.
Consistency from the likes of Scott Caldwell, Lee Nguyen, and Kelyn Rowe has limited Dorman's playing time. He's mostly come into games as a substitute, but hasn't stayed on the field long enough to make a positive difference. Two weeks ago, he came on for Caldwell against New York as a tactical switch but was red carded late in the game for a dangerous tackle.
That was the second time this season that Dorman came into a game and got red carded. But coach Jay Heaps, his former teammate for four years with the Revolution, remained patient.
"For me it was a no-brainer [to start Dorman Saturday]…He played so well in the New York game," said Heaps on Saturday during the post-game press conference. "Against New York, I thought he came in and changed the game and then he got the red card.
"I think he would have been in my plans for Montreal [last week] had he not gotten a red card...Dorman all week trained in there, and to me I really was happy to have a week to train with him, because he really just locked down that middle for us [on Saturday night]."
Dorman's return last Fall was unexpected. Much has changed since he left. Steve Nicol was the coach when he departed, now it's his former teammate Heaps. MLS added five teams and watched David Beckham come and go.
While the league and the Revolution's coach have changed, Dorman's work ethic has not. Ask any of his teammates. They'll say he's continued to train hard and fight for the team despite being relegated to the bench for most of the season.
But on Saturday, Dorman was called upon to be the Revolution's key player again. And even though it had been over half a decade since he put together a pivotal performance with New England, Dorman looked as fresh as ever on Saturday night.
He even told Fagundez to be ready for the pass. "It's going to be a one-timer," was what Dorman told Fagundez.
And a one-timer it was, the pass from Dorman turned into Fagundez' team-leading 13th goal of the season to hand the Revolution a win in front of their biggest crowd of the season and keep their playoff hopes alive.
"He’s put his time in, his work in. I wish I could say more," said Heaps. "There’s so much to say about it, because he works so hard. He won everything in the air that he could get his head to, he controlled the middle, and to me, it showed he was a player that wanted to win it and he was the one who got the game-winning assist.
"It just was a great play. But Andy Dorman, from the time he got here – I don’t know how many years ago, when I was a teammate of his – to this game...you felt very comfortable with Andy Dorman out there."
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