September 3, 2016
by Adam Burrows
RUNNING THE RAPIDS
Revs blank Colorado, 2-0
New England Soccer News Contributor
FOXBOROUGH, Mass.-- The New England Revolution snapped a six-game winless run in convincing fashion with a critical 2-0 interconference victory over the visiting Colorado Rapids at Gillette Stadium Saturday night.
|Juan Agudelo's game-winner against the Rapids snapped a 375-minute Revolution scoreless drought.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Juan Agudelo broke a 375-minute Revolution scoreless drought early in the first half off assists from Gershon Koffie and Lee Nguyen, and Chris Tierney added a second goal on the far side of intermission off assists from Kelyn Rowe and Diego Fagundez.
Brad Knighton made two key saves for New England, denying Dillon Powers twice from close range, while Nguyen, the Revolution’s all-time penalty kick leader with thirteen, missed from the spot for only the second time in his MLS career.
The Revs (7-12-9, 30 points) remain in eighth place in the East but edged closer to the playoff zone, while the slumping Rapids (11-5-10, 43 points), who lost their second straight and have won just once in the their last seven outings, remain third in the West.
With Kei Kamara and Je-Vaughn Watson called away for international duty and Teal Bunbury and Bobby Shuttleworth nursing injuries, New England Head Coach Jay Heaps improvised a starting eleven in a must-win contest.
Kelyn Rowe, who’s played every outfield position this season except central defender, got the nod as the attacking playmaker at the point of the midfield diamond with Nguyen and Agudelo up top in the Revolution’s recently favored 4-4-2.
Referee Alan Kelly ignored a penalty shout from Heaps and the Revs at the three-minute mark when Rapids ‘keeper Zac MacMath ran into the back of Nguyen chasing a pass near the end line, but the Revs drew first blood ten minutes later after an energetic start.
Koffie made a run from his deep midfield post and worked a give-and-go with Nguyen at the edge of the box, slipping to Agudelo who drilled a shot in traffic that bounced off the right post and over the line for Agudelo’s fourth goal of the season but just his first since May 21st.
Knighton, making his eighth league start in goal, came up big in the eighteenth minute to keep the Revs ahead, palming away an uncontested blast from Powers from near the penalty spot off a feed from forward Kevin Doyle.
Nguyen had a chance to double the lead from the spot in the 33rd minute after Scott Caldwell sprung Rowe free on goal with a long through pass and MacMath tripped up Rowe, but the Revolution’s all-time penalty kick leader crashed his effort off the right post as MacMath guessed correctly.
The woodwork got the best of Nguyen again in the 41st minute when he crossed left to right through the box off a layoff from Agudelo and cut his shot back through traffic but clipped it off the left post.
The Revs came out flying after intermission and doubled their lead in the 49th minute off a perfectly executed counterattack. Caldwell advanced to Rowe who heel-flicked to Fagundez steaming up the middle. Fagundez drew the Colorado defense and fed in stride to Tierney, who buried his first-time shot into the right upper corner for his second goal of the campaign.
Knighton preserved the clean sheet just before the hour mark, tipping a goal-bound open header from Powers over the bar after a cross from Dominique Badji.