New England Soccer Today

Revs Grab First Win

Saer Sene celebrates his first goal for the Revolution 28 seconds into Saturday's match against Portland. (Photo: Chris Aduama/

FOXBORO, Mass. – 28 seconds. That’s all it took on Saturday afternoon for the New England Revolution to put an end to a 180 minute goalless streak to start the season.

French striker Saer Sene provided the fire power and the Revs held onto the lead for 90 minutes to earning their first victory of the young season, 1-0 against the Portland Timbers in the Revs’ home opener in front of 12,925 at Gillette Stadium

“We were fired up from the beginning,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “We knew [Portland] were going to be flying, so we had to make sure that we came out with some energy and that’s what we showed.”

Sene’s lightening quick goal was the 8th fastest goal in MLS history. The French striker got on the end of a cross from the left flank by Chris Tierney and headed it past Timbers ‘keeper Troy Perkins to give the Revs a lead almost right off the kickoff.

“Jay [Heaps] said going in ‘let’s put balls in the box, let’s put them under pressure to start the game,’” said Tierney. “Saer’s great at getting on the end of crosses, so I figured why not whip one in and just try to put it in a good area. Saer did great to get on the end of it.”

The quick lead could be considered a bit of surprise considering the Revs had yet to score a goal all season and were without a key creative force in midfielder Benny Feilhaber (left peroneal strain).

Perhaps even more impressive was the Revs ability to shutout the Timbers who had started the season undefeated and tallied four goals in their first two games. With defenders Darrius Barnes (left calf strain), John Lozano (right hip flexor strain) and Stephen McCarthy (suspension) all unavailable, captain Shalrie Joseph moved to center back from his regular center midfield spot and led a backline of AJ Soares, Chris Tierney and Kevin Alston.

“We were hoping to have (recent signing) Flo Lechner start [at center back],” said Heaps. “Shalrie was playing a lot of midfield leading into the week, so I had to pull him aside yesterday when Flo needed some additional testing. Shalrie had to be reactive and be the captain that he is. I thought he was spot on all night – I don’t think he took a bad spot and he was able to lead us from there.”

Joseph also became the team’s all-time leader in minutes played in the 54th minute – passing Heaps (21,619 minutes).

While it wasn’t always the prettiest soccer, the Revs had some promising moments going forward. Nguyen almost added to the Revs early lead in the 7th minute, but his shot from just outside of the box after a nice run forward rolled just wide of the post.

The defense, which did a great job containing the Timbers’ attack most of the night, gave Kris Boyd a dangerous opportunity in the 25th minute. Boyd was left open to get on the end of a Lovel Palmer cross, but failed to direct his header on frame.

Rookie Kelyn Rowe, playing in the center of the midfield due to Feilhaber’s absence and Joseph moving to the backline, had a great chance to score just two minutes before the half. The UCLA product was played behind the defense by a nice through pass from Sene and dribbled past the keeper, but under pressure, Rowe failed to get a shot off before running out of bounds.

The Timbers came out searching for an equalizer in the second half, but some creativity by Lee Nguyen gave the Revs a dangerous chance in the 56th minute. Nguyen collected an over-hit cross by Ryan Guy and dribbled through two defenders before blasting a shot on frame that was pushed wide by Perkins.

Boyd botched the Timbers best chance at an equalizer in the 62nd minute. This time Kalif Alhassan found Boyd in some space at the far post, but the Scottish striker sent his header wide of the post for the second time in the match.

The Revs suffered another blow to an already injury depleted defense in the 64th minute when Kevin Alston was kicked in the face on a bicycle kick attempt Portland substitute Franck Songo’o. Songo’o received a yellow card for the play. Alston left the field and was replaced by Alec Purdie in the 70th minute. Fernando Cardenas also entered for Saer Sene.

Songo’o almost made his mark on more than just Alston’s nose in the 85th minute. The former Barcelona youth product blasted a shot from distance on frame, but Reis again managed to make the save. The save was the 1,000th of Reis career.

The Revs held on to grabbing their first points on the season and move out of the basement of the Eastern Conference. New England returns to action next Saturday in Los Angeles against the Galaxy.


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