FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Lee Nguyen’s team-high 9th goal was enough scoring for the Revolution who defeated Chivas USA 1-0 Saturday night at Gillette Stadium. The Revolution move to 9-12-3 (30 points) on the season and 2-1-1 since snapping their eight-game mid-season losing streak.
Lee Nguyen scored the only goal of the match in the 56th minute on a shot from outside the box, which was placed nicely in the top left corner. The Revolution now move to 6-1-1 on the season when Nguyen scores. The goal was assisted by Kelyn Rowe and Daigo Kobayashi.
“I think tonight wasn’t dominating on the scoreboard, but if you go back you look at the stats, it was close to 70 percent possession,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “At halftime we were close to 86 percent passing. So, we had our way with the ball, it just wasn’t penetrating. That was our adjustment at halftime. One of the things we wanted to go was more penetration, more runs that were a little riskier and if we didn’t get that ball, we wanted to jump on them. I thought some of our best chances when we tried to hit a vertical ball that penetrated and we didn’t get it, we pounced on the second ball.”
The Revolution controlled most of the match with strong passing accuracy and time of possession, but struggled to get clear chances on goal. In the first half, the Revolution only managed 1 shot on goal, despite 67.8 percent of possession and six corners. In fact, Chivas USA had the best chance of the opening half as Felix Borja, playing only his second game with the club since being acquired from Ecuadorian side Liga Deportiva, tested Revolution keeper Bobby Shuttleworth in the 20th minute. Borja controlled a cross from the wing in the center of the box before spinning and making the best shot of the night for the visitors. However, Shuttleworth made a diving save to his left to keep the game scoreless.
The second half finally saw a break-through in the 56th minute as Daigo Kobayashi back-heeled while running into the box to Kelyn Rowe, who was cutting into the center of the field. Rowe, in motion tapped the ball to Nguyen who had space to step forward and unleash a powerful shot past the outstretched dive of Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy. After a long summer where the Revolution found difficulty scoring first, this was the fourth consecutive match where the Revolution opened the scoring.
The rest of the game saw a controlled back and forth where Chivas pushed their offense forward, but the Revolution’s possession and sloppy turnovers prevented many offensive threats. The best chance in the remainder of the game came from Erick Torres, Chivas’ leading scorer, who was headed a cross along the far post to Shuttleworth’s right. Shuttleworth made another diving save along the line.
The Revolution were led offensively by Nguyen who attempted 3 of the team’s 9 shots, and 2 of the 3 shots on goal. Nguyen also was tied with Charlie Davies in the team lead for fouls drawn with four. The Revolution kept Erick Torres, who came into the match third in the MLS with 14 goals, relatively quiet as he only attempted two shots, one of which was on target. Borja also made two shots, both on target, but could not find his way past Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth made four saves in total for his sixth clean sheet of the season and his 19th in his career.
Davies was held without a shot, ending his three-game streak with a point. Davies did play 81 minutes, his longest outing for the Revolution to date. Davies came off for Tony Taylor, who made his MLS debut after being acquired by the Revolution last week. Taylor also did not register a shot, but was the target for a Scott Caldwell cross in the 90th minute, which was deflected out for a corner.
The Revolution lineup remained relatively unchanged for the match, with the exception of Daigo Kobayshi moving into the starting line-up in place of Teal Bunbury, which pushed Kelyn Rowe to right midfield. The tactical move paid off, as those two players set up Nguyen for the goal’s only score.
For Chivas USA, their struggles continue as they are now winless in their last six matches and sit in last place in the Western Conference. Chivas also extended their scoring drought to 456 minutes without a goal, which is 24 minutes short of the longest of the season, set by the Houston Dynamo earlier this season. They will return back to the west coast where they’ll face the LA Galaxy next Sunday.
The Revolution’s victory snaps an 7-game winless streak against Chivas USA, which dates back to July 19, 2009. The Revolution also kept pace with the Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls, who both won Saturday night, in the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference standings. The Revolution remain one point behind the Red Bulls for the fifth and final spot and three points behind the Crew for fourth place. They will go on the road next Saturday to face Toronto FC, before returning to Gillette for a mid-week match on September 3rd against Sporting Kansas City.