Sunday, June 2, 2013
Fagundez, Revs pour it on late
By Brian O'Connell, Special to ESPNBoston.com
Diego Fagundez's scoring touch and the Revs' hot streak continued Sunday.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Revolution coach Jay Heaps was quick to pour cold water on any notion that Sunday's 5-0 thrashing of the Los Angeles Galaxy on national television was a statement game for his side.
Never mind that New England scored its most goals in an MLS game since September 2004. Or the fact that they did it against the back-to-back defending champions, who themselves came into Sunday's game fresh off a 4-0 trouncing of the Seattle Sounders.
No, none of that mattered to Heaps, who insisted that Sunday's win -- the Revolution's fifth of the season -- meant nothing more than any of their other four wins on the season.
"It's three points," Heaps said. "We're still in the middle of the pack trying to fight away. Every game is a grind for us."
Although the score may not suggest it, Sunday's game certainly was a grind for the Revolution in the early going.
In the first 25 minutes, the Revolution's possession rate hovered near 38 percent, and with the way the Galaxy were making regular forays into the final third, it seemed as if the guests were ready to put one past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
"To be fair, I thought they were the better team in the first half," Revolution left back Chris Tierney said. "They created more chances, but we weathered the storm, which is what you have to do sometimes and Bobby kept us in the game with some big saves."
Juan Agudelo and Saer Sene celebrate Sene's goal.
But just when it looked like the Revolution defense -- which last conceded a goal on May 11 -- was about to buckle, the attack turned the table on the defending champions.
In the 33rd minute, Andrew Farrell played it forward to Saer Sene, who then looked for a teammate to stretch the Galaxy defense. He found Diego Fagundez in the middle, and sent him a quick pass that Fagundez immediately returned to Sene, who ran onto it and sent it past Carlo Cudicini.
"[Fagundez] was putting the ball exactly where he wanted," Heaps said. "That touch to Saer was one of the best touches of the game."
Fagundez, who entered the match on fire with three goals in his past three, would go on to steer the attack in the second half, as the Revolution hit the jackpot in the waning moments.
With the game far from decided as late as the 71st minute, an alert Fagundez caught the Galaxy napping on defense following a curious sequence in which a foul was called differently by two different officials. But instead of waiting for the confusion to clear, Fagundez played it forward on a quick restart to Lee Nguyen, who casually slipped it past Cudicini for the second goal.
"It was weird because the linesman called it a throw-in for [the Galaxy] and the referee called it a foul," Fagundez said. "So as soon as he called it a foul, I got the ball, put it [down] and played it [to] Lee, and Lee just did it on his own and scored."
A two-goal victory against the defending champions would've been impressive for a middle-of-the-pack team like the Revolution. A team that hadn't seen much success in recent years would've relished that kind of result. But the team that played in front of a season-high 19,120 home supporters on Sunday clearly wasn't satisfied with only two goals. Not even close.
In the waning moments, the Revolution unleashed a furious display of offense that saw Fagundez (87'), Chad Barrett (90+1) and Kelyn Rowe (90+4) all pad the lead to hand the champions their worst defeat of the season -- a defeat that had the Galaxy scratching their heads trying to figure out what had just happened to them.
The Revolution, for their part, knew what they did to humble the Galaxy.
"We just made enough plays when it came down to it," Tierney said. "We obviously found our feet a little in the second half and the guys up top did a great job and we kept another clean sheet in the back, which is always a priority."
A statement game? Don't tell that to Heaps.
"We're still grinding," Heaps said. "We just got [above] .500, we have five wins now, and it's important for us to use this as a learning experience."