New England Soccer Today

Comeback Nguyen

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

The New England Revolution clinched at least a top three seed in the Eastern Conference for the second straight season after Lee Nguyen scored two goals in the second half to overturn a halftime deficit and defeat the Houston Dynamo 2-1 in Houston on Thursday night.

Head coach Jay Heaps made several changes to his starting line-up with the team on short rest after drawing 2-2 in Montreal on Saturday. Up top, Rookies Patrick Mullins and Steve Neumann got the start at forward and right wing, respectively, over Charlie Davies and Teal Bunbury. In defense, Darrius Barnes and Andrew Farrell started at left and right back, respectively over Chris Tierney and Kevin Alston. At defensive midfield, Scott Caldwell started over Jermaine Jones, who went the full 90 minutes on Tuesday for the U.S. National Team in their 1-1 draw with Honduras.

Houston would take a 37th minute lead through Giles Barnes that they’d hold into halftime, but the Revolution, thanks in part to the additions of Jones and Davies off the bench in the second half, would storm back through two Nguyen goals to take the lead and grab a 2-1 victory.

The win keeps the Revolution (16-13-4, 52 points) in second place in the Eastern Conference and guarantees the Revolution its highest point total since 2005 when the team finished with 59 points (17-7-8) in just a 32 game season. The Dynamo (11-16-6, 39 points) were already eliminated from postseason contention before the match.

New England had a great opportunity in the 13th minute when Neumann won the ball on the right flank and sent Mullins into the right side of the box. Mullins, from a tight angle, attempted to shoot, despite having Kelyn Rowe rushing into space near the far post, and missed wide.

Two minutes later Rowe forced a save from Tyler Deric with a shot from outside the box off a poorly cleared corner kick.

Rowe threatened again in the 34th minute, when he was played into the left side of the box and hit a shot towards the near post that Deric could only tip wide for a corner kick.

Houston then had their best early opportunity in the 36th minute when Jermaine Taylor got free into the left side of the box. Inches from goal, Taylor attempted a cross, but goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was there to block it.

A minute later the Dynamo took the lead when Omar Cummings beat the Revolution’s offside trap. Shuttleworth saved his effort, but could do nothing to stop Giles Barnes from tapping home the rebound.

The Revolution would find the equalizer in the 65th minute with second half substitute Jermaine Jones and Kevin Alston combining to set up Lee Nguyen. Jones played a perfect through pass to find Alston in space heading towards the box and Alston sent a pass back to Nguyen at the top of the box. Nguyen took a touch before powering a shot into the upper corner for his sixteenth goal of the season.

Nguyen then put the Revolution in the lead in the 87th minute after the Dynamo failed to fully clear a Rowe free kick. The ball eventually fell to Jones in the left side of the box. Jones attempted a shot, but his effort was deflected. The deflection came to substitute Charlie Davies who beat Deric, but saw his effort cleared off the line. The rebound fell to Darrius Barnes, who passed it to Nguyen. Nguyen hit it in from close range for his seventeenth goal of the season.

The Revolution concludes their regular season schedule on Saturday, October 25th, at 7:30 pm at Gillette Stadium against Toronto FC.

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