A week after the Houston Dynamo’s historic, 36-game home unbeaten streak came to an end, the New England Revolution sent them to a second straight loss with a 2-0 victory at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday.
For the second straight week, Diego Fagundez found the back of the net, while a Dynamo own goal courtesy of Ricardo Clark padded the Revolution lead in the waning moments. Bobby Shuttleworth made a pair of crucial second half stops, and finished with three on the evening to earn his fourth clean sheet of the season.
Bobby Boswell and Dimitry Imbongo were both issued red cards in the 40th minute in the midst of a scuffle in front of the Dynamo net. The ejections left both clubs with ten men for the remainder of the match.
Houston found itself as the hunted rather than hunter in the opening moments. In the fourth minute, Imbongo, who earned his second straight start of the season, chased down a Lee Nguyen ball over the top and broke into the area with an eye toward scoring. But Jermaine Taylor slid through to dismantle the chance at the last second.
Despite earning the better of the play in the first half, the Revolution escaped danger in the 15th minute when Stephen McCarthy cut down Will Bruin inside the area as both battled for a Brad Davis ball. Despite vehement protests from Bruin and the home crowd, referee Edvin Jurisevic kept his whistle quiet in the wake of the incident.
While both teams claimed mild chances in the first 45, the fact is the final product was lacking on both ends of the pitch. Yet, Imbongo, one of the most dangerous players on the pitch in the early going, would find himself embroiled in controversy when he was head-butted by Bobby Boswell in the midst of a Lee Nguyen free kick in the 38th minute. Imbongo retaliated by shoving Boswell to the ground, and both players were issued straight red cards for their troubles.
With both teams left with ten men, the Revolution took advantage of the additional acreage to work with in the second half. A trio of Revolution players put together a short passing clinic inside the Houston defensive third before Clyde Simms laid it off for Fagundez, who speared through and pushed it past Tally Hall for the opening salvo in the 51st minute.
Suddenly faced with the reality of losing a second straight home game – an unfathomable concept only eight days ago – Houston reasserted itself in its quest to kickstart another unbeaten run.
It was a sound idea, but the Dynamo lacked the execution to see it through. In the 61st minute, Corey Ashe floated a ball to Bruin, whose header flew over the bar. Twenty minutes later, Boniek Garcia played it to Brian Ching, who flicked wide to Andrew Driver. With a tough angle to work with, Driver sent it back to Ching, to rocketed a shot that Shuttleworth walled up right on his line.
To its credit, Houston fought valiantly to earn some measure success against the Revolution, but were undone by their own designs when Juan Agudelo, who made his Revolution debut in the 35th minute, pressed Clark deep inside the Dynamo end and forced the defender to inadvertently knock it into his own net.
Bruin found one last opportunity to close the gap in the 90th minute when he fired a hard shot from distance. But the effort waved farewell to the left post as it sauntered toward the signage.
With a well-deserved three points in their pockets, the Revolution returns to Gillette Stadium on Saturday, May 25 to face Toronto FC for the first of three straight home contests. Kickoff is set for 7:30pm.