September 17, 2016
ALIVE AND KICKING
Revolution move into playoff position with win over Montreal
MONTREAL--Behind two goals and an assist from Kelyn Rowe, the New England Revolution edged closer to a place in the postseason with a crucial 3-1 win over conference rival the Montreal Impact at Stade Saputo on Saturday night.
|Kelyn Rowe powered the Revs past Montreal Saturday at Stade Saputo.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Kei Kamara put the Revs (9-12-9, 36 points) ahead in the opening minute and Rowe added strikes on either side of intermission around a penalty kick from Didier Drogba for the slumping Impact (9-9-11, 38 points) who have won just once in their last seven outings but remain fifth in the MLS East.
The victory was the third straight for the Revs, who pulled past DC United and Orlando City SC into the sixth and final playoff spot in the East with four games remaining, winning away from home for just the second time this season.
With Je-Vaughn Watson nursing a groin injury and Gershon Koffie unavailable due to caution accumulation, New England Head Coach Jay Heaps re-inserted Kamara into the starting eleven, dropping Scott Caldwell into the defensive midfield post in the Revolution 4-4-2 while keeping Brad Knighton in goal for his sixth consecutive league start.
The Revs wasted no time in their red and white road kits at Stade Saputo, advancing the ball from the opening whistle and grabbing the lead at the 23-second mark.
Juan Agudelo played back to Rowe who sent an uncontested cross to the top of the six-yard box for Kamara to head inside the left post for his tenth goal of the season and his fifth with the Revs.
Just shy of the six-minute mark Knighton had to dart off his line to thwart Drogba with an alert kick save after the former Ivory Coast and Chelsea star split Jose Goncalves and Chris Tierney to earn a free shot on goal.
The Revs nearly doubled the lead in the nineteenth minute when Montreal ‘keeper Evan Bush spilled a low Lee Nguyen blast from distance, but Agudelo nicked the post from a tight angle off the rebound.
New England was not to be denied in the 27th minute when Kamara kept possession in the right corner and laid back for Rowe, who fired low and hard off the far post and into the netting as he approached the penalty area. It was the fifth-year attacking midfielder’s fourth goal of the campaign and his first in almost three months.
The Revs picked up where they left off as the second half started with Rowe testing Bush off a pass from Kamara, but five minutes from intermission Drogba halved the lead from the spot after a controversial penalty on London Woodberry.
Harry Shipp fired off a shot as he approached the penalty area and referee Allen Chapman pointed to the spot when the ball glanced off Woodberry’s shoulder as the New England defender turned his back toward Shipp.
Chapman did the Revs no favor again three minutes later when he only showed yellow to Victor Cabrera after the second half Montreal substitute clipped Agudelo’s heels as a through pass from Rowe looked capable of sending Agudelo clear on goal.
The Impact looked poised to equalize in the 56th minute when Ignacio Piatti worked a give-and-go with Drogba at the edge of the box, but the Argentine DP skied his shot over the box from close range.
Two minutes later it was the Revolution’s turn to rue its chances when Kamara crossed expertly from the left sideline on a quick counterattack. Agudelo’s flying header struck the left post with net unguarded followed and then Montreal defender Hassoun Camara saved Rowe’s follow-up effort off the line.
Rowe made good off the ensuing corner kick, however. When the Revs played short and the Impact failed to clear Tierney’s dangerous delivery, the ball fell to Rowe who redirected inside the right post with his left boot just shy of the hour mark.
Bush came up with saves on Agudelo and Diego Fagundez, but the Impact were unable to draw closer as Piatti scuffed a chance from close range and free kicks from Drogba flew off-target, handing the Revolution a crucial three points on the road.