FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Lee Nguyen scored early and Jerry Bengtson added a late insurance goal on his debut as the New England Revolution grabbed an important 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls in front of 14,374 at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night.
An offensive onslaught by the Revs in the first half saw many squandered chances, but Nguyen made no mistake with his 24th minute strike from outside the box. The Revs (6-7-4, 22 points) then survived some second half offensive pressure from the Red Bulls (9-5-4, 31 points) before Designated Player Jerry Bengtson added an insurance goal in the 84th minute. The win leaves the Revs unbeaten in their last five games (2-0-3).
“It was a hard-fought match by us,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “I thought our first half was really good. The second half, when you’re up a goal and you’re at home, I thought we worked hard in the first half and I thought they had a pretty good run of play, some chances. But overall, in the end, I thought we had more chances to score. I thought the game should’ve been over before half. But credit New York for fighting. It was nice to get the second goal for the win.”
The Revs started the match with captain Shalrie Joseph and goalkeeper Matt Reis on the bench, while rookie Kelyn Rowe was back in the line-up and Bobby Shuttleworth got his first minutes of the season in goal. Meanwhile, New York left stars Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez and Teemu Tainio at home.
The match got off to a fairly quiet start before Blake Brettschneider had the first real chance of the match in the 12th minute. Saer Sene played the second-year striker behind the defense with a great through ball down the left flank, but rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara was quick off his line and the two collided, leaving both down temporarily and earning the Revs a corner.
The early pressure from the home side continued and Benny Feilhaber had an opportunity for the Revs, getting the ball in space in the box from Sene, but his effort was too weak to trouble Meara.
Nguyen finally opened the scoring in the 24th from just outside the box. The creative midfielder got the ball from Chris Tierney and hit a low shot just inside the post for his third goal of the season.
“Thankfully, (Chris Tierney) played me a ball with enough pace on it to give me time to take a touch towards goal and take a shot,” said Nguyen. “It was just a nice setup from the beginning to the end.”
Sene could’ve added to the Revs lead a minute later when A.J. Soares played him behind the defense with a long ball. The French striker ran in on goal, but sent his shot just wide of the net.
The Revs looked certain to double the lead in the 40th minute on a long free kick from Feilhaber. Soares headed a shot on frame that Meara acrobatically saved, but the rebound fell to Brettschneider who took a shot with Meara out of net. Conde slid in to make the block and then another Red Bulls defender cleared a second effort from Brettschneider off the line.
The Red Bulls came out a bit more offensive in the second half and Kenny Cooper came closest to scoring in the 56th minute. The Red Bulls leading score took a few touches at the top of the box to create space before curling a shot to the far post with Shuttleworth rooted to the spot. Cooper’s shot rattled off the post and deflected in front of the goal line before being cleared out.
“I thought Bobby (Shuttleworth) did an excellent job tonight,” said Heaps of Shuttleworth’s first start of the year. “He communicated, he did well on crosses. Quite frankly, Bobby’s been playing really well in training and in the reserve games. I take a hard focus on reserve games and Bobby’s had a really good run in those.”
Bengtson, who entered the match in the 60th minute for his debut, doubled the lead for the Revs with a goal on his debut in the 84th minute. Shalrie Joseph played a ball behind the defense with Saer Sene crashing in. Sene got away with a bit of a push on a defender before hitting a shot on frame that deflected off Meara and fell to Bengtson, who placed it into the empty net.
“It was a beautiful play by my teammate,” said Bengtson through team translator Jasir Charis. “(Sene) was very unlucky. He took a shot and the ‘keeper made a save. I was focused enough to lead me to the goal. I never lost focus of following the ball.”
The win pushed the Revs into a tie for sixth place in the Eastern Conference with the Columbus Crew.