Wednesday night, Lee Nguyen led the New England Revolution to a 3-1 come-from-behind win over powerhouse Sporting Kansas City at Gillette Stadium for a sparse crowd of 11,707.
Nguyen scored two fabulous second half goals, bringing his total to 12 goals of the season, including his sixth game-winner and four goals in the last three games. Nguyen’s 12 goals ties him for fifth in MLS with Gyasi Zardes of the LA Galaxy. Nguyen and Zardes are also tied for the MLS lead with six game-winning goals.
“Confidence,” said Nguyen. “I think our team was on that losing streak, you can kind of get deflated. But we knew we had the quality and I think the past three games we’ve done really well to lift up the intensity. Now we’ve just got to keep pushing.”
New England (11-12-3, 36 pts.) now stands third in the Eastern Conference and seventh overall. Sporting KC (12-9-6, 42 pts.) lost it’s third straight match and fell to second in the East and sixth across MLS.
Jermaine Jones got his first start and added an assist on Teal Bunbury’s equalizer in the 45th minute, before being replaced by Steve Neumann at the half as the designated player returns to fitness.
“[MLS] is completely different than in Europe,” said Jones. “It is good for me though; it was the first time I played on turf since I was 16. I thought I played well given that it was the first time I played on turf in a while. . . It’s a young group and we have a lot of fun in training and after. I think you can see it on the pitch, as well. We are a good group and we can win again and go a long way.”
Soony Saad put Sporting KC ahead 1-0 in the ninth minute, thanks to sloppy Revolution defending and a misdirected header by Jones. Bunbury equalized in 45th minute, due to U.S. National Team defender Matt Besler taking the shot on his back and deflecting it into his own net. But New England got down to business in the second half, led by Nguyen,
Daigo Kobayashi and Kelyn Rowe. Rowe provided the assist on Nguyen’s 48th minute game winner and leads the Revolution with five assists (18 career) with three assists in his last three games. Nguyen added his second blazing goal in the fourth minute of stoppage, assisted by Patrick Mullins.
“Kelyn (Rowe) has done great,” said Nguyen. “He’s flourishing out wide right now. He can affect the game one-on-one out there and at the same time he can bring it in and be dangerous when he picks up his head and he can look for the open guy. I think his game’s just gotten better and better.”
With the win, goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth lifted his record to 10-11-3 on the season with seven shutouts.
The Revolution return to action on Sunday, September 7 when it hosts the Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will be shown live on Comcast SportsNet.
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SKC – Soony Saad 3 (unassisted) 9’
NE – Teal Bunbury 4 (Jermaine Jones 1) 45’
NE – Lee Nguyen 11 (Kelyn Rowe 5) 48’
NE – Lee Nguyen 12 (Patrick Mullins 1) 94+
New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth, Darrius Barnes, Jose Goncalves, A.J. Soares, Andrew Farrell, Kelyn Rowe (Diego Fagundez 85’), Daigo Kobayashi, Lee Nguyen, Jermaine Jones (Steve Neumann 46’), Teal Bunbury, Charlie Davies (Patrick Mullins 61’)
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton, Kevin Alston, Donnie Smith, Tony Taylor
STATS: Shots 14, Shots on Target 7, Saves 1, Corner Kicks 7, Offsides 2, Fouls 14, Possession 48.3%, Passes 343 (66.5%)
Sporting Kansas City: Andy Gruenebaum, Matt Besler, Igor Juliao, Seth Sinovic, Lawrence Olum, C.J. Sapong, Jorge Claros (Martin Steuble 88’), Graham Zusi, Mikey Lopez, Soony Saad (Sal Zizzo 65’), Claudio Bieler
Substitutes Not Used: Jon Kempin, Toni, Aurelien Collin, Kevin Ellis, Jimmy Medranda
STATS: Shots 8, Shots on Target 2, Saves 4, Corner Kicks 1, Offsides 4, Fouls 19, Possession 51.7%, Passes 368 (66.8%)
NE – Daigo Kobayashi (caution) 22’
NE – Teal Bunbury (caution) 29’
SKC – Mikey Lopez (caution) 35’
SKC – Seth Sinovic (caution) 39’
NE – Kelyn Rowe (caution) 84’
SKC – Graham Zusi (caution) 84’
Referee: Ismail Elfath
Assistant Referees: Craig Lowry (AR1), Scott Kachmarik (AR2)
Fourth Official: Alan Kelly