New England Soccer Today

Offensive Approach Gives Revs Comfortable Win

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Lee Nguyen kept his offensive hot streak going, Teal Bunbury scored his first goal since September 3rd and even captain and center back Jose Goncalves joined the attack and tallied a rare goal as the New England Revolution defeated the Columbus Crew 3-1 (7-3 on aggregate) on Sunday night in Foxboro.  Nguyen and Bunbury led the charge with a goal and an assist each, but it was a full team effort as the Revolution came into the game with an attacking mentality despite already holding a 4-2 lead.

“I think our best defense is a good offense,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “We want to keep teams off-footed. We are who we are and I think sometimes you have to embrace what kind of team you are.”

In fact, the situation with the Crew needing to attack was the perfect set-up for a Revolution offense that thrives on the counterattack.

“I feel that we’re a great team when we get the ball on the counterattack,” said Bunbury. “We have a lot of pace up top, we have guys that can do a lot of magical stuff on the ball and I feel like we executed that today.”

The Revolution are currently second in MLS in counterattacking goals this year with six, according to

Bunbury’s goal, which gave the match its final score of 3-1 and sealed the win, was a good example of New England’s ability to take advantage of a team forced to press. With the Revolution’s then 6-3 aggregate lead meaning the Crew needed to score at least three more goals in the remaining 13 minutes plus stoppage time, while also playing down a man, there were no shortage of holes for the home team to exploit. Substitute Daigo Kobayashi did just that, waiting for the perfect moment to spring Bunbury behind the defense with a through pass, and Bunbury made no mistake with the finish.

“I saw Daigo get on the ball and he’s one of the best in the league when he’s facing forward and can slip balls in behind,” said Bunbury. “I wanted to make a run in and I just wanted to hit it hard and near post and was fortunate.”

Goncalves goal before that was perhaps less predictable, even given the circumstances. The center back has made a few forays forward this, including his goal at Sporting Kansas City on September 26 in the Revolution’s 3-2 win. That time the Revolution captain had the ball and took the space that was given to him before unleashing a long range shot.

On Sunday, for Goncalves’ second goal of the season, the defender didn’t have the ball, but still took the space given to make a run forward, leaving the Crew with a disadvantage in numbers on defense. Charlie Davies spotted Goncalves at the far post and Goncalves’ shot clanged off the post and off goalkeeper Steve Clark before going into the net to give the Revolution what was then a 2-0 lead in the 55th minute of the match.

“[I didn’t think I’d personally get the opportunity], but I knew that going forward [the Crew] will take some risks and they have to take some risks,” said Goncalves. “It means they’ll open the back and if we play very well and very smart we’ll get a lot of chances to counter and that’s what we did. I think we could score more goals, but I think I am very happy with the performance the team played, but of course if you can score more goals, you are more happy, but the win was the more important, not the goals and that’s what we did.”

And, of course, New England’s offensive onslaught on the night started with none other than Nguyen, who finished the regular season with 18 goals and is a frontrunner for league MVP. After absorbing some early pressure from the Crew, the Revolution had their chance when Kelyn Rowe found Teal Bunbury making a run into the left side of the box on a quick counter. Bunbury cut back and his first cross attempt was blocked, but he got the ball back and waited for the perfect opportunity to find Nguyen rushing towards the six yard box. Bunbury hit Nguyen in stride and Nguyen volleyed home for his second goal of the playoffs.

The goal gave the Revolution a 1-0 lead and a commanding 5-2 aggregate lead heading into halftime.

“That’s who we are,” said Nguyen. “That’s part of our DNA. I think we don’t have it in ourselves to sit back and try to bunker in. We’re a much better team when we try to go and win it and press other teams and create turnovers in their half.”

With New England now hitting the road to open the Eastern Conference Finals on November 23rd at the New York Red Bulls, it’s a safe bet the team will continue their attacking mentality in that series.

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