FOXBORO, Mass- The Revolution let a victory come and go.
They took the lead via a left-footed strike by Saer Sene in the 64th minute, then allowed the Houston Dynamo's Will Bruin to equalize 12 minutes later and force a 1-1 tie in front of 21,297 at Gillette Stadium.
"Houston's a really good team and they hold on," said Revolution coach Jay Heaps during the post-match press conference. "They know how to grind these games out. It's a point, but at the same time you need more points at home."
Juan Agudelo made the difference for the Revolution. He came entered in the 60th minute for Dimitry Imbongo, who hobbled off the field injured after a frustrating, offside-ridden performance, and opened up the space that allowed Sene to give the Revolution the lead.
"Juan came in and did a good job," continued Heaps. "Once [he] comes in, their center backs are tired from battling with [Imbongo]. Juan is able to really change the game. He's got the skill to hold the ball and our runners are able to find little seams off of him."
On the goal, Houston's defense was busy covering Agudelo in the center of the penalty area, which allowed Lee Nguyen to pick out a wide-open Sene on the right side of the box in the 64th minute. The unmarked Sene ran onto Nguyen's gift-wrapped pass, and then fired a left-footed blast into the back of the net past Houston's Tally Hall.
The finish was sublime, especially since Sene's shot from the corner of the six-yard box is a tight angle for even the most skilled marksmen.
"We won the ball in midfield and [Nguyen] chose me, played me the ball, and I finished it," explained Sene.
"I'm used to the [tight angle]. I work on it every day in practice. Thank God I scored today in the same situation, but we wanted to win tonight."
The Revolution had bids for a second goal. Chris Tierney hit the post off a freekick (39th), Diego Fagundez shot wide of the far post (70th), Agudelo had a bicycle kick following a Kelyn Rowe throw-in saved (90th), and Sene saw a freekick go inches wide of the left post (90th+).
"On the whole we played pretty well," said Chris Tierney. "We created enough chances to win the game. We had the better of the play...Had we taken one, I think 2-0 would have been curtains for them."
Houston managed to escape each of those chances and mount their comeback. Bruin equalized for the visitors in the 76th minute, controlling a pass from Boniek Garcia as he went in alone on Matt Reis a few feet from six yard box, and then pummeled a shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.
"Credit to them, they caught us off," added Tierney. "They're a good team. They've got players up top that will punish you if you make that one mistake and unfortunately, we did."
A victory on Saturday would have pushed the Revolution past both Philadelphia and fourth place Houston. But the tie puts pressure on the Revolution's last four games of the season, three of which are away.
Mathematically, the Revolution are still in the playoff chase. But the players know that in this final stretch, there is no longer room for the same kind of errors that victimized them on Saturday night.
"One point hurts here because I think we played well enough to get three," continued Tierney,
"There's times when you need that slice of luck and we didn't get it. Hopefully we'll get it in these next few games coming up."
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