New England Soccer Today

Watson Strikes Again

Photo credit: Jeff Bernstein

Photo credit: Jeff Bernstein

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Defense and versatility are two things Je-Vaughn Watson has earned a reputation for in his time in Major League Soccer. Scoring, not so much.

You wouldn’t know that if you’d just started tuning into his career over the past few weeks, however. Tuesday’s goal, the game winner for the New England Revolution in their 3-1 win against the Chicago Fire in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals at Gillette Stadium was Watson’s third in as many weeks.

“I’m in the zone, you know,” said Watson. “You’ve got to do whatever you have to do. If I can’t get it far away to hit it, I’m going to try to come closer. Which one would you rather get it, close or far away? I’d rather get it close to finish it.”

Watson, who has shown his versatility this season by playing right back, left back, center back and defensive midfield for the Revolution this season, played 75 minutes at center back before switching to defensive midfield on Tuesday. His goal came in the 42nd minute off a Revolution corner kick. The key finish came less than two minutes after the Revolution had conceded an equalizer to Chicago’s David Accam, who sliced through the Revolution defense, including Watson, before scoring to knot the score at 1-1.

Watson would make amends for the defensive miscues by nodding in a Chris Tierney corner kick after Kei Kamara’s attempt was redirected by a Fire defender right to him. The goal gave the Revolution the lead going into halftime and Teal Bunbury would ice it with a strike in the 85th minute to give the game its final score line.

“Whenever you are in the box on a set piece, if it’s not a direct kick exactly to you, you’re going to try to find a way to get on the end of stuff,” said Watson. “We practice that in training. It was a training pitch play and Kei flicked it on. I was in the box, so I just moved towards the ‘keeper. I feel it come in, so I just decide I’m going to go for it. It just falls for me and I finish it.”

Watson also scored the team’s only goal in the previous round of the Open Cup and then scored the game clinching penalty kick as the defeated the Philadelphia Union in a shootout after a 1-1 draw on July 20. He followed that up with a game winner against Chicago in league play in a 1-0 victory on July 23.

“We were talking earlier, me and Steve Neumann, and he was saying just keep on scoring and saying in Chicago I scored a goal last time, so whatever, I’m going to go for it,” said Watson. “You know when you’re in a good spot like that and you saw the ball just to finish it and before I even put it in the goal I was saying oh my god it’s a goal again.”

Watson will get a chance to continue his streak of scoring in big games when the Revolution head to the U.S. Open Cup Final on September 21 at the winner of Wednesday’s match between FC Dallas and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

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