By Melissa Turtinen
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution ended a scoring draught and a three-game losing streak with its 2-0 win over league-leading Los Angeles Galaxy – was this the game the Revolution needed to turn their season around?
It was questionable how well the Revs (4-9-2) were going to play after their 5-0 loss to Real Salt Lake on July 2 and the team’s lack of scoring, as of late – the Revs went 347 minutes since their last goal (May 29 in New England’s 3-2 win over New York).
“Eventually a game was going to break our way,” Revolution captain Shalrie Joseph said. “If we kept pushing and pushing and keep battling hard and we talked about how we didn’t work hard enough the past couple of games and we needed to stick to our game plan to keep up the hard work. We showed a lot of mental and physical strength out there as well as heart and I think we definitely put on a good show.”
The Rev’s first goal came in the 67 minute off a freekick from Marko Perovic. Perovic took the kick from nearly 25 years out and curled the ball into the far post. The goal marked Perovic’s third of the season. His freekick was the second consecutive kick. The first kick, which resulted in a handball, came in the 64 minute after Sainey Nyassi was fouled.
Just seven minutes later, the Revolution secured their win with a goal from Nyassi. Nyassi got a touch on Shalrie Joseph’s shot from 25 yards. LA Goalkeeper, Donovan Ricketts, was off balance with the initial save and Nyassi followed up with a powerful rebound from just a yard off the goal line.
“Impressed yes, surprised no, that our guys kept attacking with a one-goal lead,” said New England Revolution coach Steve Nicol. “We got the turnout and we were determined to get a result tonight. And to get it against the best team in the league at the present time, it’s just even more pleasing.”
In the first half neither team played as if they were leading the MLS, or near the bottom of it. The score, 0-0, reflected the pace of play and balance in the game.
Both teams had flashes of brilliance, but few opportunities to put a goal in the back of the net.
In the first half, Nyassi was making the crosses, but the remainder of the Revolution offense was unable to connect with the ball. Nyassi and the Revs, were however, pressing for a goal. That was made evident in the second half.
“I think we pick up more second balls in the second half than the first,” Nicol said. “Shalrie [Joseph] was one of the first to the balls and challenging them. We just didn’t read the second ball well enough in the first half. I think we did better in that second half. That made a difference.”
Whether this game turns the Revolution’s season around or not, it was still a huge win for the club. The Revs move into fifth place in the Eastern Conference and handed the Galaxy (11-2-3) their second loss of the season (the Galaxy remains in the lead of the league by six points). The Revs were also the first team to score two goals against the Galaxy all season.
Melissa Turtinen is a contributing writer for The Soccer Guys.