FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution crushed the Philadelphia Union, 5-1, behind four second half goals to grab a crucial three points in front of 12,531 at Gillette Stadium. The win puts the Revolution into the fifth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot
Kelyn Rowe gave the Revolution a halftime lead with a long range shot in the 26th minute, but the Union would equalize in the 51st minute through Danny Cruz after a miscue between Matt Reis and the Revolution backline. The Union’s Conor Casey controversially had a goal disallowed in the 56th minute and the Revolution responded immediately with an own goal off a deflected Juan Agudelo shot in the 58th minute to take back the lead.
A second long range strike from Rowe made it 3-1 in the 66th minute, then Fagundez found the back of the net in the 71st minute, and the Revoliution capped it off with Agudelo’s goal in the 73rd minute. The win was the Revolution’s biggest since a 5-0 home win over the Los Angeles Galaxy on June 2nd.
“It was a good start for us,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “We came out with the right mentality and we got a nice goal… The second half really – credit [Union head coach] john Hackworth and credit Philly – they came out and changed their formation and really changed the tempo of the game. Unfortunately we didn’t react real well until we were tied, but then as we figured out what we were doing, we had a couple of communications that opened it up and we were able to turn the game around.”
Heaps kept the Revolution’s line-up unchanged from the team that won 2-0 over the Chicago Fire last weekend and veteran ‘keeper Matt Reis made his second straight start in goal.
Both sides exchanged half chances in the opening minutes with Lee Nguyen having a shot easily saved in the first two minutes, and Sebastian Le Toux forcing Reis into a save in the 23rd minute.
Rowe’s opener then came in the 26th minute after picking up the ball from Chad Barrett and letting it roll a bit ahead of him till he was about 25 yards from goal. Rowe then one-timed a low shot targeted inside the far post that just beat the outreached arms of Zac MacMath to put the home side up 1-0. The goal was Rowe’s fourth of the season.
“They’d been dropping a lot, so I thought I’d let it run by and try to hit it on goal,” said Rowe. “Luckily it just trickled in that far post.”
Rowe had a great chance to double his tally in the 34th minute with Diego Fagundez played him into the box, but the second year midfielder took one touch too many, with his final touch letting him down and allowing MacMath to grab the ball.
New England should’ve doubled their lead in first half stoppage time when Fagundez intercepted a poorly played back pass and found a wide open Juan Agudelo near the penalty spot. All alone and with plenty of space, Agudelo attempted to one time a shot, but hit his effort well wide of the target.
The Union came out stronger in the second half knotted the score in the 51st minute when they caught the Revolution out on a counter attack. Conor Casey played a ball through to Danny Cruz and Reis ran off his line, but was unable to beat Cruz to the ball. Cruz took a touch around Reis and with Chris Tierney in pursuit, slotted it into the empty net.
The Union nearly took the lead two minutes later when Sheanon Williams broke down the right flank and blasted a shot that was only denied by the post. The rebound fell to Sebastien Le Toux, who finished it past Reis, but was ruled offside.
Casey then seemingly put the Union in the lead in the 56th minute after A.J. Soares collided with Reis after the goalkeeper collected the ball off a cross. Reis seemingly lost control of the ball and Casey ran in to tap it in the ball and subsequently collided with reason. Referee Allen Chapman disallowed the goal for a reason that wasn’t immediately clear.
“I had the ball kind of under myself and I thought I had both hands on it and he came kind of sliding in and kicked it through me,” said Reis. “We’ll see what the replay says, but I thought I had both hands on the ball.
Agudelo would put the Revolution in the lead two minutes later, when Fagundez found him streaking into the right side of the box. Agudelo hit on shot on frame that was deflected by Amobi Okugo and snuck past MacMath inside the near post. The goal was credited as an own goal by Okugo.
Rowe then made it 3-1 in the 66th minute. After getting the ball from substitute Dimitry Imbongo, Rowe took a touch forward and unleashed a rocketed shot into the upper corner from about 25 yards, leaving MacMath with no chance, as Rowe scored his second of the night and fourth of the season.
“There were a bunch of good goals [tonight],” said Rowe. “It was good for us to find the net again in a big way, so we’re happy about it, the 5-1 victory.”
New England put the game out of reach in the 71st when Scott Caldwell played Fagundez down the left flank on a counterattack. Fagundez cut inside Okugo and hit a shot past MacMath inside the near post to make it 4-1 with his eighth goal of the season.
Two minutes later Agudelo added to the rout when he got the ball off a Fagundez pass that Imbongo deflected. Agudelo turned in the box and fired a shot past MacMath to make it 5-1 with his seventh goal of the season.
The Union went down a man in stoppage when Okugo was issued his second yellow card and subsequent red card for a foul on Imbongo and the Revolution easily saw out the match from there to take the three points.
“It was a huge game – an in-conference game – so we knew all these games have playoff implications for us now,” said Reis. “We’re trying to climb the ladder and we did a great job of responding tonight.”
The Revolution return to action with a trip to face Toronto FC on Friday.