New England Soccer Today

Nguyen Leads Revs Over Whitecaps

Kevin Alston and the Revolution defense held strong after some early shakiness to hold Vancouver to one goal in the Revs 4-1 victory. (Photo: Walter Silva)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Lee Nguyen scored twice while Shalrie Joseph and Saer Sene scored a goal apiece as the Revs grabbed their biggest win of the season defeating Vancouver, 4-1.

Another slow start and a fifth minute lead for Vancouver made for an ominous early showing, but the Revs bounced back scoring a goal a minute later and controlling the match from then on for an impressive win in front of 12,112 at Gillette Stadium.

“We worked all week on making sure we wanted to start well and we didn’t,” said head coach Jay Heaps after the match. “That’s disappointing, but at the same time I think it woke us up a little bit and we really started to click as that half went on and then in the second half we started slow again, but we certainly managed the game a lot better.”

The slow start nearly caught the Revs defense napping in just the fourth minute when Sebastien Le Toux was played behind Revs center back AJ Soares. Le Toux ran in on goal and blasted a shot on frame that goalkeeper Matt Reis just managed to get a hand to. The ball bounced off the turf and just rolled wide of the post.

A minute later Eric Hassli put the visitors on top after some nice passing by Vancouver. David Chiumiento found Le Toux streaking down the right flank and the French forward sent a quick low cross to fellow Frenchman Hassli. The 31-year-old striker slotted a shot through Reis’ legs to put the visitors on top.

“The first five minutes – I don’t know what’s going on with us, we’ve got to look at ourselves in the mirror, we’ve been starting slow the last couple of games,” said Joseph. “To go one-nothing down at home, we were flat. We came back, showed a little bit of character and got that goal from Lee (Nguyen).”

The Revs responded just a minute later through Nguyen. A blocked Blake Brettschneider shot fell to Nguyen near the penalty spot who took a touch before slotting it inside the far post for his first MLS goal.

“Just mentally for everybody, it was a shocker when they scored,” said Nguyen. “And to come back like that, it helped everybody push forward. Then Saer (Sène) getting the second goal after that, everyone just gained more confidence.”

Heaps made two changes to the line-up that fell 2-1 to Real Salt Lake last weekend with Sene returning to the starting eleven in place of Kelyn Rowe and partnering Brettschneider up top, while Stephen McCarthy replaced John Lozano at center back. Sene would score what ended up as the game winner in the 24th minute.

Nguyen was again the catalyst, sending a smart pass from the top of the box to play Sene in on goal. The French striker ran in on goal and slotted a low shot past Cannon to the far post.

Joseph extended the lead to two with his first goal of the season in the 33rd minute. Sene sent a low cross into the box after some great play on the right flank. His cross eluded the Revs, but Carlyle Mitchell, who appeared to have been knocked unconscious a few minutes earlier on a foul by Sene, failed to properly clear the ball and Joseph was able to blast it in.

“I was just in the right place at the right time,” said Shalrie. “Saer (Sene) tried to whip it in and the defender didn’t do much with it. I was just in the right spot. That’s what happens when we push numbers [forward] and get the ball in the box – something can happen. That’s what we’ve been stressing on this week – set pieces and getting numbers in the box. I feel like it’s my duty to get up and down the 18 and make sure I cover a lot of ground tonight and every game from now on.”

Vancouver threatened to pull one back in the 57th minute off a free kick from about 30 yards. Alain Rochat drove a shot on frame towards the near post, where Reis managed to keep it out with a diving save.

Nguyen put the game out of reach in the 73rd minute after getting the ball on the left flank off a throw-in by Chris Tierney. The creative midfielder curled a shot inside the far post from about 25 yards out to put the Revs ahead 4-1.

“Chris (Tierney) threw me a perfect ball, just into space,” said Nguyen. “I took a touch and I just wanted to take a shot and put it in the corner. That’s just how it worked out.”

For Nguyen, who earned Man of the Match honors, there could’ve been a bit of revenge as motivation for his strong showing. Vancouver grabbed Nguyen in a weighted lottery in the offseason, but waived him on March 1st, allowing the Revs to pick him up.

“I don’t think it was ever that [Whitecaps coach] Martin Rennie or the organization didn’t think he was a good player, because I know they did,” said Heaps. “They said they had a lot of guys who were similar and we’re going to move on. Look, they’re 5-3-2 and they’re in the Canadian cup final. They’re a heck of a team, and so I think maybe Lee had a little something to show but it was not against Martin Rennie. It was not against the organization. It was just one of those where you feel a little bit slighted and he showed it tonight.”

The 25 year old midfielder wasn’t ready to call it revenge, however.

“I wouldn’t say revenge,” said Nguyen. “I’m just relieved. I’m just happy we got the win. The way it ended up I couldn’t have dreamt it any better. I’m just glad for my teammates, we worked hard and we didn’t give up after that first goal. It was a great win.”

The Revs remain home to face the Houston Dynamo on Saturday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m.

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