Lee Nguyen and newcomer Teal Bunbury staked the New England Revolution to a 2-0 lead, but defensive miscues allowed Chivas USA to come back and grab a 3-2 win on Saturday night in the Desert Diamond Cup preseason tournament in Tucson, Ariz.
The loss – New England’s first of the preseason – sees the Revolution’s preseason record fall to 1-1-3. The Revolution, who opened the tournament with a scoreless draw against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday, now sit in fourth in the six team field with a 0-1-1 (1 point) tournament record.
Nguyen opened the scoring in just the 10th minute, scoring directly off a free kick from just outside the box. Bunbury would double the lead ten minutes later with a well-placed finish off a Diego Fagundez cross.
But Chivas USA would take over the scoresheet from there, with Erick Torres halving the deficit with an impressive volley in the 25th minute. Carlos Alvarez then finished off a flurry of chances in the Revolution box in the 54th minute to equalize and Mauro Rosales scored the winner with a brilliant free kick in the 74th minute.
The Revolution put out a strong starting line-up with Bobby Shuttleworth in goal behind defenders Kevin Alston, AJ Soares, Jose Goncalves and Donnie Smith. The midfield consisted of Scott Caldwell, Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe, Fagundez and rookie Patrick Mullins, while Bunbury started up top. Andrew Farrell, Chris Tierney, Charlie Davies and Saer Sene were unavailable due to injuries.
Fagundez had New England’s first chance in the sixth minute, driving forward into the left side of the box, but his effort was wide of the target.
The 19-year-old midfielder should have done better two minutes later when Nguyen played Fagundez behind the midfield. Fagundez chipped a shot over Chivas USA trialist goalkeeper Larry Jackson, but again his shot was wide of the net.
Nguyen then put the Revolution ahead in the 10th minute after earning a free kick from just outside the box. Nguyen took the set piece, hitting a low shot past Jackson into the corner to make it 1-0.
Bunbury, making his preseason debut for the Revolution after being acquired in a trade with Kansas City, had a chance to add to the lead in the 17th minute after a giveaway by Chivas USA. Bunbury ran towards into the box, but under pressure from Andrew Jean-Baptiste, his shot was too weak to trouble Jackson.
The Revolution’s newest signing would leave Jackson with no chance two minutes later when he got a pass near the penalty spot from Fagundez on the left flank. Bunbury placed a shot well out of the reach of Jackson to double New England’s lead, making it 2-0.
Chivas USA would pull one back in the 25th minute through on-loan striker Erick Torres. Torres hit an impressive volley from inside the box past Shuttleworth to put the Los Angeles-based club on the board.
New England then nearly added a third in the 27th minute when Alston beat the defense to a lobbed through pass, but his shot was stopped by an onrushing Jackson.
Mullins, playing on the right wing, threatened in the 36th minute, when he cut inside on his defender after receiving a long ball from Caldwell inside the box to put a shot on frame, but Jackson was equal to the task.
The Revolution continued to have the better of the play and came close again in the 41st minute when Scott Caldwell made a run down the left flank and played a low cross into the box. Caldwell found Nguyen in the box and the Revolution midfielder hit a low shot, but again Jackson made the save.
Chivas USA would find an equalizer in the 54th minute after the Revolution defense failed to clear numerous efforts from the Chivas attack. After numerous rebounds and deflections Carlos Alvarez finally cleaned it up from close range to make it 2-2.
New England made several substitutions in the second half with O’Brian Woodbine, Darrius Barnes, Paolo DelPiccolo, Dimitry Imbongo, Steve Neumann, Jerry Bengtson, and trialists Marvin Ogunjimi, Jossimar Sanchez, and Alec Sundly all entering around the hour mark. Trialist Daigo Kobayashi had previously entered the match in the 31st minute.
Chivas USA began to have the better of the play after the Revolution’s wholesale changes and grabbed the lead with their third unanswered goal in the 74th minute after earning a free kick just outside the box on the left flank. Mauro Rosales curled in a free kick just inside the far post to put Chivas in the lead, 3-2.
Revolution U-18 academy member Zach Herivaux got into the action late replacing Kobayashi in the 78th minute.
Chivas USA was able to hold on from there, handing the Revolution their first loss of the preseason. New England will face the Chicago Fire on Saturday in their final group stage match of the Desert Diamond Cup.