Lee Nguyen’s 93rd minute goal gave the New England Revolution their first win of the 2014 season, 2-1, at the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.
New England got their first lead—and their first goal of the season—off a shocking San Jose own goal in the 35th minute, only to give up an equalizer to Chris Wondolowski in the 69th minute. But the scoring wasn’t done yet as Nguyen became the first Revolution player to score this season with an impressive goal in stoppage time to give the visitors three points.
The win saw the Revolution (1-2-1, 4 points) move to sixth place in the East. San Jose (0-2-1, 1 point), still looking for their first win of the season, fell to ninth place in the West and lost at home for the first time in 17 MLS games.
Head coach Jay Heaps made just one change to the line-up that drew 0-0 in the club’s home opener against the Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend. Daigo Kobayashi replaced the injured Kelyn Rowe in midfield. Notably Charlie Davies made the gameday 18 for the first time this season and made his season debut in the 62nd minute.
Both sides exchanged chances in the opening minutes, but New England had the best early opportunity in the 17th minute. Kobayashi did well to control the ball in the right side of the box then found a wide open Saer Sene. The French striker put an effort on frame, but his shot with his weaker right foot was right at Jon Busch and easily saved.
The half chances continued and New England forced Busch into a difficult save in the 25th minute when Teal Bunbury hit a shot from just outside the box towards the lower corner. Busch dove down and tipped the shot wide of the target.
Ten minutes later New England was handed the lead from a stunning Earthquakes own goal. Jordan Stewart miscommunicated with Busch and slid in to knock the ball past the keeper and slowly towards goal. Victor Bernardez attempted to slide in to knock the ball away from on onrushing Sene, but instead sent the ball into his own net to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
San Jose’s best chance of the half came in the 39th minute off a free kick from Shea Salinas. Salinas’ service found Steven Lenhart making a run to the far post, but his powerful header was just wide of the target.
The ‘Quakes had the better of the play for the rest of the half, but New England held on to take their first lead of the season into the halftime break.
The home side then came out the brighter team in the second half. New England had a brief positive spell immediately after Davies entered for Sene for his first appearance of 2014, but it didn’t last.
Wondolowski should’ve equalized for the Quakes in the 64th minute when he beat the Revolution’s offside trap and ran alone in on goal. The U.S. International failed to take advantage, however, shooting wide from close range.
Wondolowski would make no mistake five minutes later, however, when again the Revolution offside trap was beaten, this time by Steven Lenhart. That started a series of passes that eventually led to Jose Goncalves deflecting the ball right to Wondolowski. Wondolowski hit a weak shot to the far post, but a flatfooted Shuttleworth failed to react, and the score was knotted at 1-1.
New England had chance to retake the lead on an 80th minute counterattack when Bunbury’s driven cross was punched by Busch to Nguyen in the box. Nguyen attempted a quick shot, but his effort was blocked by a Quakes’ defender.
San Jose, who had scored 17 stoppage goals since 2012, continued to search for a winning goal and nearly found one in the 91st minute when Shea Salinas found Wondolowski with a long ball into the box. Wondolowski attempted to beat Shuttleworth at the near post, but his effort was just wide.
Instead, it was New England with the stoppage time strike, as the Revolution broke on a quick counterattack in the 93rd minute. Nguyen ran towards goal with Bunbury to his right, but opted instead to go it alone. After finding some space just inside box, Nguyen unleashed a low shot past Busch to give the Revolution a 2-1 lead and their first win of the season.
The Revolution remaind on the road and head to D.C. to face a struggling D.C. United side on Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m.