The New England Revolution had played all 33 games this season without scoring a goal off a free kick, yet on Saturday, in the team’s season finale, it was a free kick that would lead the Revolution to victory over the Montreal Impact.
A.J. Soares headed in an 88th minute Chris Tierney free kick from just outside the box on the right flank to give the team a 1-0 victory and silence the home crowd of 19,998 in Montreal.
With both teams playing for pride, the Revolution (9-17-8, 35 points) and Impact (12-16-6, 42 points) played a scoreless 88 minutes before Soares broke the deadlock to give the Revolution a win to close their season.
The Revolution made three changes to the line-up that defeated the Chicago Fire, 1-0, last weekend. Benny Feilhaber, Fernando Cardenas, and Chris Tierney replaced Blair Gavin, Kelyn Rowe, and Dimitry Imbongo in the starting eleven.
The Revolution threatened in the 5th minute after earning a corner kick. Benny Feilhaber curled it into the box and Ryan Guy placed a header towards goal, but goalkeeper Troy Perkins was able to punch it away.
Montreal came close three minutes later with Jeb Brovsky breaking down the left flank, beading Diego Fagundez and drawing Bobby Shuttleworth out of goal. Brovsky slid a pass across goal, but Kevin Alston was there to make a sliding clearance.
After the opening minutes the Revolution appeared to content to sit back and play for the counterattack. The Impact dominated the possession, but neither team created many real scoring opportunities.
New England had their best chance of the half when Cardenas and Diego Fagundez combined well down the right flank in the 28th minute with Cardenas able to slip by a sliding defender in the box. Cardenas ran in on goal, but placed his shot right at an onrushing Perkins, allowing for an easy save.
The visitors came out of half time on the attack and came close to taking the lead in the 50th minute when Marco Di Vaio’s low cross slipped past Shuttleworth and rolled across the goal line, kept out perhaps with the aid of streamers that had been thrown at the Revolution goal. Seconds later Shuttleworth saved a long range blast from Davy Arnaud.
Substitute Justin Mapp nearly put the home side in the lead in the 73rd minute, beating Ryan Guy on the left flank and running into the box before powering a shot on frame that Shuttleworth managed to keep out. A minute later, Mapp came close again, but shot high of the net.
The Impact had another great opportunity to pull in front in the 82nd minute, earning a free kick just outside the box, dead center. Di Vaio took the free kick, sending it under a jumping Soares in the wall, but Shuttleworth was there to make the save.
Four minutes later Montreal had another great chance when Mapp found space on the left flank and sent a cross into the box. Collen Warner got on the end of the service, but his header rolled just wide of the near post.
The Revolution stole the win against the run of play in the 88th minute after earning a free kick just outside the box on the right flank. Tierney curled the set piece towards the penalty spot, where Soares rose up to head it into the net.
Montreal should have equalized three minutes into stoppage time when Di Vaio got the ball behind the Revolution defense. Di Vaio attempted a quick volley on frame, but his effort was too weak and poorly placed to beat Shuttleworth.
The Revolution finished the season in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.