The Revolution made a very loud statement on Sunday afternoon as they defeated the Los Angeles Galaxy 5-0 at Gillette Stadium in front of 19,120 and extended their winning streak to four games in all competitions. Saer Sene, Lee Nguyen, Diego Fagundez, Chad Barrett, and Kelyn Rowe all found the back of the net for the Revolution's first win by a five-goal margin since a 6-1 victory over the Colorado Rapids on Sept. 18, 2004.
The defending league champions were without starters Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez, key players who are away for World Cup qualifiers with their respective national teams. The Revolution took advantage of the depleted Galaxy (6-5-2, 20 points), who seemed lethargic as they failed to defend Fagundez throughout the game.
Fagundez was the difference-maker, running the Revolution's (5-4-4, 19 points) offense and setting up two of their goals in addition to scoring his team-leading fifth goal of the season and extending his scoring streak to four games.
"We're on a winning streak right now and I think everyone in this locker room wanted it more than they did," said Fagundez after the game. "You can't say anything bad about them, they're the defending champs. They played a good first half, they kept on attacking and attacking. But as soon as we scored that first goal, we kept attacking. We were doing everything we could to win the game."
Fagundez was the match that lit the Revolution's offensive fuse, combining with Sene for the first goal after the Galaxy controlled the opening half hour. In the 34th minute, Sene made a run down the right flank, passed to an open Fagundez, and continued his run unmarked into the penalty area. Fagundez then returned the ball to Sene, who fired past Carlo Cudicini for his first goal of the season.
"That touch to Saer [Sene] was one of the best touches of the game," said Revolution coach Jay Heaps of Fagundez.
"You can see he was putting the ball exactly where he wanted it and sliding off defenders."
The Galaxy, who owned the possession battle and created a slew of chances in the first half, entered the second half with high pressure on the Revolution's back line as they searched for an equalizer. But Fagundez would again thwart the Galaxy, as he helped the Revolution tally a second goal, again against the run of play.
It started In the 71st minute, Landon Donovan dragged down Andrew Farrell and the Revolution was awarded a freekick on the right flank. But the Galaxy disagreed with the call and argued with referee Fotis Bazakos. While the Galaxy players were in the midst of a protest, Fagundez took the freekick and played Lee Nguyen at the top of the penalty area, who took a touch and fired a low, hard drive through the legs of Galaxy defender Tommy Meyer and into the goal to double the Revolution's lead.
"He created the first two goals," added Heaps. "Setting up Lee [Nguyen], being smart, and playing quickly and taken advantage of an unset defense was a good job from him as well."
The Revolution's second goal left the Galaxy in shock as Donovan, who switched jerseys with Fagundez after the game, continued to argue with Bazakos after Nguyen scored. What happened next is something that Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena says he wants to pretend "never happened." The play that led to Nguyen's goal demoralized the Galaxy, who were already vulnerable to New England's counter attack with so many players forward trying to score.
In the 87th minute, Fagundez capitalized on the space the Galaxy were leaving open in their third of the field. He tore through the Galaxy back line, finishing a give-and-go with Rowe by confidently pounding the ball past Cudicini and into the net for the three goal advantage.
"My confidence just keeps going higher and higher," said Fagundez of his performance against the Galaxy. "The more minutes I get, the more confidence I get. Every goal I get, the more it helps out the team."
Fagundez was substituted out for former Los Angeles Galaxy forward Chad Barrett in the 88th minute. Barrett tacked on another goal just two minutes after coming on, early in second half stoppage time. Barrett collected a pass from Rowe at the top of the penalty area and then belted a shot into the back of the net for his first goal of the season.
"I had a great two years [with the Galaxy]," said Barrett, who made his first appearance since March 30. "I was happy and thankful to get in today. To get the goal, my very first of the year, was very important to me. It didn't matter that it was against the Galaxy."
Barrett returned the favor when he set up Rowe for the fifth goal moments later. Rowe fired from 25 yards out, his shot beating Cudicini to the lower right corner of the net.
"I saw that we didn't have much time left," explained Rowe. "Might as well just take a hit. Chad told me he'd give me one back and he did, really quickly."
"More people need to put me on their fantasy teams," Barrett joked of his late-game contributions.
In the opening half hour, it didn't appear as though the Galaxy would leave Gillette Stadium with a 5-0 loss. They tested the Revolution back line early and often. Shuttleworth tipped three shots over the crossbar in the early minutes, stopping bids from Marcelo Sarvas (3rd), Juninho (9th), and Donovan (23rd).
Shuttleworth finished the game with six saves to preserve his sixth shutout of the season. Meanwhile, the Revolution's back line has notched its eighth clean sheet and has the league's best defensive record, having allowed the fewest number of goals (9).
Itís just repetition [making six saves]," explained Shuttleworth. "Iíve gotten a bunch of starts in a row now so I feel sharper. With every start, Iím getting more experience and learning and picking up different things."
This result puts the Revolution in a tie with the Philadelphia Union for the fifth and final playoff spot. While Philadelphia is technically ahead of New England since they've scored more goals this season, the Revolution can leap frog the Union soon since they have one game in hand.
The Revolution's next test is against last place DC United at Gillette Stadium on June 8. After dismantling the Galaxy with five goals and a shutout, the expectation is that the Revolution exploit a very weak team at home and continue their climb up the standings.
"We are going to prepare for D.C. the same way we did for LA: the same intensity, the same detail, like I said it is another chance to take three [points]," finished Heaps. "It is another stepping-stone going towards making the playoffs. Weíre aware of how desperate D.C. is going to be and we will be prepared for that."
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