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September 10, 2016
Revs romp past NYC, 3-1

by Adam Burrows
New England Soccer News Contributor

Lee Nguyen scored the game-winner for New England against NYC FC on Saturday.
Lee Nguyen scored the game-winner for New England against NYC FC on Saturday.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
FOXBOROUGH, Mass.--With their backs against the wall, the New England Revolution took a big step back toward playoff contention on Saturday night with an impressive 3-1 victory over first-place NYCFC at Gillette Stadium.

Juan Agudelo and Lee Nguyen scored first-half goals for the Revolution (8-12-9, 33 points) and Diego Fagundez closed out the scoring after Frank Lampard answered early the second frame on the only shot on target for slow-footed NYCFC (12-9-8, 44 points).

The Revs shut down David Villa and launched repeated waves of attacks, outshooting the star-studded visitors 23-10 as only nine saves from NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders prevented a more one-sided scoreline.

Agudelo, Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe also contributed assists as the Revs claimed their second straight win and leapfrogged DC United into seventh place in the East heading into Tuesday night’s US Open Cup final against FC Dallas in Frisco.

New England Head Coach Jay Heaps made no changes to the lineup that snapped a six-game winless skid and ended a 375-minute scoreless drought in last week’s 2-0 home win over Colorado, keeping Brad Knighton in goal and pairing Nguyen and Agudelo at the top of the recently favored Revolution 4-4-2.

NYCFC flashed its firepower early when passes from Andrea Pirlo and Steven Mendoza freed Villa at the five-minute mark, but the illustrious Spaniard skied his open twelve-footer over the crossbar. A quarter-hour later, Agudelo put the Revs ahead for the second straight week as the home side seized control with a dominating first-half performance.

Rowe won a free kick in the attacking end off a pass from Scott Caldwell on a play that also produced a yellow card for NYCFC defender Jefferson Mena. NYCFC cleared Nguyen’s curling delivery but Fagundez sent a pass back into the penalty area for Agudelo who advanced to the corner of the eight-yard box and finished cleanly into the far corner of the net for his fifth goal of the season.

Saunders, who was forced into six first-half saves, denied Fagundez twice in the 34th minute, but the NYCFC ‘keeper could do nothing to stop Nguyen in the 42nd minute at the tail of a Revolution counterattack.

After strong hold-up play from Agudelo, Rowe beat Mena with a nifty outside move and cut back to Nguyen who took a couple of patient touches to elude NYCFC defenders before slotting past Saunders to double the lead with his team-leading sixth goal of the season and his first in over two months.

The visitors came out brightly after the break and halved the lead three minutes from intermission. Pirlo worked a bit of dribbling magic in the center of park and sprayed right to RJ Allen, who entered for Jason Hernandez at the half. Allen crossed through the box where Lampard swept his first-time effort into the back of the net for his twelfth score of the campaign.

While NYCFC pressed for an equalizer the Revs launched a 58th minute counterattack that failed on its initial gambit as defender Frederic Brilliant made a desperate block on Agudelo but yielded reward on the second effort. Agudelo won the ball back and dropped for Fagundez who fired low and hard inside the left post for his fourth league goal, but first since April 30.

Agudelo nearly added to the lead in the 72nd minute after the hardworking Fagundez won a free kick just outside the corner of the box. Chris Tierney sent in a low delivery that Agudelo heel-flicked toward goal as Saunders was caught flat-footed but the effort glanced off the crossbar.

In the 86th minute referee Juan Guzman sent off NYCFC midfielder after a sliding tackle on Agudelo, reducing the visitors to ten men and ending any chance of a comeback.
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