New England Soccer Today

Daigo Dagger Draws Dynamo

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Daigo Kobayashi came off the bench to score a 93rd minute equalizer for the New England Revolution as they escaped Houston with a 3-3 draw in their MLS season opener on Sunday in front of 21,594 at BBVA Compass Stadium.  The Revolution had lost their previous two season openers by a combined score of 7-0, including a 4-0 loss at the Dynamo to start the 2014 season.

Diego Fagundez gave the Revolution the lead in just the third minute, but the Dynamo would equalize just before halftime through Cristián Maidana. Andrew Wenger then gave Houston the lead just a few minutes into the second half, but Fagundez would set up Charlie Davies for an equalizer soon after. The Dynamo looked to take all three points when Giles Barnes put them back in the lead, but Fagundez again created a tying goal, this time off the head of Kobayashi, on what was nearly the last kick of the game.

The Revolution started the match with the same line-up they began their final preseason match, a 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew in the Desert Diamond Cup Final. The starting line-up saw newcomers Gershon Koffie and Je-Vaughn Watson, both acquired in offseason trades, make their debuts. Kelyn Rowe got a start beside Koffie in central midfield with 2015 Revolution MVP Scott Caldwell beginning the match on the bench. Caldwell would replace Rowe at halftime due to an injury.

New England grabbed the lead in just the third minute through Fagundez. A long ball from Jose Goncalves was poorly handled by the Dynamo defense and fell right to Fagundez. Fagundez took a touch before hammering a long distance shot into the lower right corner of the net, beating a diving Joe Willis to give the Revolution an early lead.

Houston had a couple of chances to equalize in the seventh and tenth minutes and began to control the match from there, but didn’t truly test the Revolution net until the forty-five minute mark.

The game took a quick turn just before halftime after the Revolution were denied a penalty kick shot when Lee Nguyen was dragged down by the arm in the box by DaMarcus Beasley. Referee Jose Rivero ignored the Revolution’s pleas for a foul, instead granting Houston a goal kick. Willis’ ensuing goal kick was flicked forward where Goncalves and Shuttleworth miscommunicated and collided, preventing an easy catch for Shuttleworth and instead allowing Maidana an easy finish to make it 1-1.

Four minutes into the second half Houston would take the lead through Wenger, making his debut for the Dynamo after an offseason trade. Wenger started the play stealing the ball from Bunbury and then playing it wide. The ball was then played to Will Bruin in the box, who found Wenger and the 25-year-old winger finished past Shuttleworth to give the home side a 2-1 lead.

But just three minutes later New England would equalize. Fagundez played Davies behind the defense on a quick counterattack. Davies’ initial shot was saved by Willis, but the rebound came back to him and the Boston College product finished it off on the second attempt.

New England then nearly retook the lead in the 58th minute when Watson broke down the right wing and hit a low cross just in front of the endline. The cross found Davies a couple yards from net, but his shot from point blank range was well denied by Willis.

The Revolution would seemingly stay in control from there, having outshot Houston six to one in the second half before Houston retook the lead in the 77th minute. A long ball was brought down by Bruin just outside the box and Bruin then slid a pass to Giles Barnes who was stationed at the top of the box. Barnes hit a low shot past Shuttleworth to make it 3-2 for the home side.

With the Revolution pressing for an equalizer, Houston should’ve put the game out of reach on a quick counterattack. Wenger got being the Revolution defense and was one-on-one with Shuttleworth, but sent his shot wide of the net.

The visitors would make the Dynamo pay for that miss as they piled on the pressure late, controlling 71.4% of the possession in the final five minutes and stoppage time. New England would strike in the third minute of stoppage time when Fagundez found 85th minute substitute Kobayashi, who headed it home to give the game its final 3-3 scoreline.

The Revolution return home to face D.C. United on Saturday at 3pm.

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