By Ryan Fleming
When Matt Reis took his place in goal Tuesday night to face Puebla’s fourth penalty taker, Edgar Lugo, he not only stepped in to give the New England Revolution a great chance at advancing to the SuperLiga final for the second time in three years, he attempted to stop another blockade on an aging season that has been anything but normal for the Revolution.
Reis ended up standing his ground long enough and dove to his right just at the last second to slap away Lugo’s shot and handing Kenny Mansally the clinching chance to continue the team’s impressive six-game unbeaten streak that the Revs have somehow conjured together. Mansally converted, pushing the Revs ahead on an even 1-1 score, but 5-3 on PKs.
“Each one I got a little bit closer. The first one I went the wrong way, but all the rest of the ones I was clicking closer and closer,” Reis said after the game. “He stutter-steps and I just tried to stay as long as possible. We were taking good penalties. I think everyone hit really, really good penalties and in this kind of situation, that’s what you need, so it only took one save.”
“I got all the confidence when Matt (Reis) saved that ball,” Mansally said. “I said let me just go and do it. I had a couple chances that I missed but when I scored the penalty, I think everything was okay.”
It only took one save to give the Revs another boost of momentum coming into an increasingly important stretch of games that could determine if they make the postseason or not.
When D.C. United come into town with a new coach after firing Curt Onalfo last Wednesday, the Revs will have to jump all over the league’s worst team. The Revs, though, will probably be down a few players. Despite the addition of Cory Gibbs on defense, the Revolution could be without both Marko Perovic (strained left calf) and Kevin Alston (mild left hamstring strain); both retreated early from Tuesday’s game.
It’s nothing the Revolution aren’t accustomed to. Unfortunately, it is a tune the entire team hears all too often. But like Reis’s save, another bright spot means another chance at a win. It’s time to ignore the blemishes.
Ryan Fleming is a writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at email@example.com.