New England Soccer Today

Sene Leads Comeback Win

FOXBORO, Mass – It was far from the New England Revolution’s prettiest performance of the season on Wednesday, but style mattered little as the Revs grabbed an important 2-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids in front of just 6,149 at Gillette Stadium.

The Rapids (4-5-0, 12 points) took an early lead, but the Revs (3-5-0, 9 points) struck back grabbing goals through Saer Sene and Fernando Cardenas before halftime and then holding onto their one goal advantage for the final 45 minutes.

“It certainly wasn’t our best game from a standpoint of how we played,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “What I really was excited about was the resolve we showed. We showed that going down a goal, we didn’t hang our heads, we fought back. I asked a lot of the guys tonight and each one of them stepped up.”

The visitors grabbed the lead in the 21st minute off a Martin Rivero corner kick. Rivero found Jaime Castrillon at the near post, where he eluded his marker to head it past Revs ‘keeper Matt Reis and give the visitors the lead.

The lead didn’t last long as Sene equalized for the Revs in the 27th minute after Stephen McCarthy headed a Clyde Simms cross in front of goal. Sene was there near the penalty spot to blast a shot on frame that deflected off Drew Moor on the goal line on its way in.

“The goal was from a long ball into the box,” said Sene. “I saw McCarthy go to the header. I stayed back and thought the second ball would come. The second ball came and I shoot the goal.”

Cardenas then grabbed the lead for the Revs in the 39th minute after being played into the right side of the box by Sene. Cardenas chipped a shot over Matt Pickens, who mistimed his jump, allowing the shot to sneak under the bar. That goal would hold up as the game winner.

“The goal is going to give me confidence,” said Cardenas through a translator. “I’ve just got to work, work, work to get better. The more important thing is getting three points and moving the team up in the table.”

The Revolution made two changes to the line-up that lost 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls, with Benny Feilhaber and Cardenas starting in midfield in place of Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe. While Nguyen came off the bench, Rowe was left out of the match day squad.

“We lost three games in a row, so there’s a little bit of everything in that [decision to make the changes],” said Heaps. “There has to be competition. There has to be people knowing if they fight hard in training that they’re going to get on the field. If we had won four games in a row, it gets a little harder, but we hadn’t. We’d played well, but we hadn’t finished any games, we hadn’t torn teams apart. To be honest I wanted to get players that I thought deserved to be on the field.”

Reis, who would end the night with his 100th career win, was called into action the 12th minute when Omar Cummings got behind the Revs defense on a flicked on header from Tony Cascio. Cummings held off Chris Tierney and sent a low shot on goal, but Reis was able to block it and then grab the rebound.

After the two teams exchanged goals, the Rapids came close to grabbing back the lead in the 31st minutes when Brian Mullan found Rivero with a cross from the right flank. Rivero headed a shot on frame, but Reis was quick to get down and make the save.

Reis came up big again for the Revs in the 33rd minute, this time denying a shot from Tony Cascio that was target for inside the far post.

The Revs grabbed the lead while temporarily playing down a man after Kevin Alston left the game due to illness. New England was forced to make a sub in the 42nd minute, bringing in Darrius Barnes for Alston shortly after the game.

“It was just a team performance,” said Revs captain Shalrie Joseph, who played his 250th career MLS game, all for the Revs. “It wasn’t the prettiest game we’ve played. It wasn’t the game we’ve played so far this season, but we got the result that we desperately needed.”

After a lull in action to start the second half, Sene threatened in the 67th minute, carrying the ball up the left flank before cutting in on his defender. Sene slotted a shot on frame, but it was well saved by Pickens.

Ex-Rev Jeff Larentowicz set up a chance for Colorado to equalize in the 69th minute, launching a long ball towards the far post. Larentowicz’s pass found the head of Castrillon, who powered a header on frame, but Reis was there to tip it high. The save was perhaps the best of the night for Reis and assured the ‘keeper would grab his 100th victory.

“The focus going into [the match] was we weren’t happy about losing three games,” said Reis. “It’s early in the season, but we need to get points. We can’t get too far back in the race. It was an honest team effort. I think that we didn’t play our best in the second half, but we got a win, which is the most important thing.”

Much of the second half was bogged down in midfield, and outside of a few half chances, both ‘keepers were relatively untested as the match finished 2-1 for the Revs third victory of the season.

The Revs return to action on Saturday with a tough match-up on the road against Real Salt Lake.

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