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July 23, 2016
Watson scores another clutch goal as Revs slip past Chicago 1-0

by Adam Burrows
New England Soccer News Contributor

After scoring the Revolution's only goal and the deciding penalty kick in Wednesday's US Open Cup quarterfinal, Je-Vaughn Watson came up with an 85th-minute game-winner against Chicago Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
After scoring the Revolution's only goal and the deciding penalty kick in Wednesday's US Open Cup quarterfinal, Je-Vaughn Watson came up with an 85th-minute game-winner against Chicago Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
FOXBOROUGH, Mass.--Just three days after launching the New England Revolution into the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup with a first-half goal and the decisive penalty kick, Je-Vaughn Watson broke a scoreless deadlock in the 85th minute with his first league goal of the season to give the Revs a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.

New England dominated possession and chances, putting eleven shots on goal to Chicago’s none, but the Revolution (6-7-8, 26 points) needed a spark off the bench from Diego Fagundez and Watson’s late header off a Chris Tierney corner kick to beat Chicago ‘keeper Sean Johnson and give the Revs their second win of the season over their division rivals.

The Revs extended their unbeaten streak to three games and remained in sixth place in the East, while the loss was the eighth straight on the road for the last-place Fire (4-10-5, 19 points), who haven’t won away from Toyota Park in over two years and saw their road winless streak reach a league-record 35 games.

The two teams will meet again in Foxborough on August 9 with a chance to advance to the U.S. Open Cup final on the line.

After a scoreless draw in the Revolution's last league outing at Rio Tinto Stadium, Head Coach Jay Heaps made just one change to his lineup, returning a fully fit Tierney to left back and for the second time in the last three league games and moving Watson up to central midfield, a position familiar to the Jamaica international from his work with the Reggae Boyz.

The sky darkened and the wind started swirling soon after kickoff as the Revs attacked from the whistle and a summer storm passed through the region, dousing the 21,872 fans before giving way by intermission to a Kodachrome sky but failing to yield any goals.

Johnson was called into action early to palm away a Kelyn Rowe blast from distance off a corner kick, and soon after New England defender London Woodberry made a risky but vital intervention, sliding to poke the ball off the foot of Chicago striker Michael de Leeuw as the Dutchman was about to go clear in the penalty area.

The Revs had their best crack of the opening session just short of the 20-minute mark when Tierney whipped a trademark cross to the near post, but the contested redirect from Teal Bunbury, who was active off the right wing all half, looped over the crossbar.

Bodies started falling at the half-hour mark. First De Leeuw drew a caution from referee Juan Guzman when he shoved Watson into Jose Goncalves on an aerial duel, sending both Revolution strongmen to the ground, and then Rowe and Johnson collided at the edge of the six-yard box as the Fire ‘keeper snatched at a cross, sending Johnson and Fire midfielder Khaly Thiam to the turf.

The visitors nearly broke through on a comical sequence in the 56th minute when Goncalves blocked a David Accam cross toward goal forcing a desperate rescue from Bobby Shuttleworth and then Fire midfielder John Goossens whiffed on the short-angled rebound with the net untended.

Fagundez entered for Scott Caldwell as Heaps tried to rekindle the stalled New England offense, and in the 69th minute the Leominster native forced a leaping save from Johnson with a twisting corkscrew off the outside of his right foot from the top of the arc.

Fagundez challenged Johnson three more times as time grew short and New England stepped up the attack, and after earning a second consecutive corner kick, the Revs finally broke through.

Tierney curled his delivery toward the penalty spot from the right corner and Johnson, who had registered ten saves to that point, tried to battle through traffic for the punch. But as the Chicago ‘keeper swung and missed, Watson headed between two Fire defenders stationed on the line for the game-winner.

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