Juan Agudelo scored one of the most memorable goals in Revolution history on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium as he helped lead his team to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Fire.
In the 57th minute, Agudelo ran onto a long, 40-yard, over the top ball from Chris Tierney and flicked a shot with the heel of his foot over the head of Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson. The ball sailed toward the net and barely drifted over the goal line before defender Bakary Soumare cleared it away.
But by the time Soumare had made his clearance, the linesman had already decided that Agudelos' nifty finish, his fourth goal of the year, made it over the goal line and should count.
Kelyn Rowe doubled the Revolution's lead in second half stoppage time, finishing off a rebound from a Saer Sene shot into an open net for his third goal of the season.
The result pushes the Revolution past Chicago into sixth place, one win shy of a playoff position. Saturday's win also snapped a two-game winless streak, a two-game home losing streak, and gave the Revolution the edge in their three-game, regular season series with the Fire.
"We needed a win," said Coach Jay Heaps after the match. "Last week, we were really disappointed with the way the game went from top to bottom...We needed to rebound. I thought tonight after another loss, you really start asking a lot of guys, and tonight the energy was there. Right from the opening whistle, I felt really good about our chances."
After two consecutive losses, Heaps made five changes to the starting lineup. One change was starting Agudelo, who returned from a knee injury. Two other major changes were Matt Reis starting in goal for Bobby Shuttleworth and AJ Soares starting in central defense for Stephen McCarthy.
"I thought [Reis] has been training really well and pushing [Shuttleworth] and Shuttleworth's] played great all year," said Heaps. "Itís a great little competition, but sometimes when guys are pushing in training Ė to reward and give an opportunity, I thought Matt earned it."
"It was a pretty hard-fought match, but we came out with the right mentality," added Heaps. "We certainly changed the lineup from our last couple games. I thought the guys that got in tonight did an excellent job."
Aside from a shot by Chicago's Mike Magee that came off the right post in the 18th minute, the Revolution back line stayed reasonably strong. Soares paired well with Goncalves as the duo combined to preserve the Revolution's 12th shutout of the season.
Reis did his part too. Despite being absent from the starting lineup since March 23, he looked agile and fast off his line and commanded his defense well. He made three saves and earned his third shutout of the season and has yet to give up a goal in league play.
"Even if I donít get in a lot of games, thereís not that much of a drop-off when I do get in. It was nice to get back out there," said Reis. "It was great. I wasnít sure if it was ever going to happen again, but I was happy to help the team. It was a big game for us. We really needed the points, and we came out and did everything we needed to do."
The game was not without drama. In addition to the linesman's controversial call on Agudelo's wonder goal, three ejections occurred in the second half.
In the 83rd minute, Chicago coach Frank Klopas was ejected for stepping onto the field in protest of referee Edvin Jerisevic's decision on a play involving New England's Kelyn Rowe and Chicago's Dan Paladini.
Then, after the final whistle, a small fight broke out between both teams. No punches were thrown, though there was some shoving. New England's Saer Sene pushed a Chicago assistant and was subsequently red carded. Soumare was also red carded for continuing the confrontation.
"I know that there were red cards shown to Soumare and Sene," admitted Heaps. "I donít know what exactly transpired to lead that. Itís two teams going at it and weíll see it on film, but there was definitely a lot of emotion."
Sene will be ineligible to play next Saturday at Philadelphia, which could pave the way for Charlie Davies to earn his first start for the Revolution. Davies played 11 minutes against Chicago, coming on as a substitute for Chad Barrett in the 79th minute.
"I expected to come on," said Davies. "Once you get the actual Ďyouíre going in,í [I felt] just sheer excitement. Iím so happy to be back. Iím so happy to be part of this team and this organization that Iíve grown up watching and itís an exciting time.
Itís 10 games left now and the playoffs are on the horizon if we continue to play like we did today."
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