Friday night, the New England Revolution earned at least a third-place finish in the MLS Eastern Conference, avoiding the Playoff Knockout Round between the four and five seeds, with a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo.
MLS MVP candidate Lee Nguyen scored both goals in the Revolution’s come-from-behind victory on the road at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas for a crowd of 22,332. It was Nguyen’s team-leading 16th and 17th goals of the season and his MLS-best eighth game-winning goal.
On the downside, defender Andrew Farrell was removed by stretcher in the 47th minute after suffering a studs-up tackle by Jermaine Taylor. He was replaced by Kevin Alston, who assisted on Nguyen’s first goal.
With one game left to play, New England (16-13-4, 52 pts.) now stand fourth across all of MLS. Houston (11-16-6, 39 pts.) missed the playoffs this year, falling to seventh in the East and 13th across MLS. Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear is moving on to manage the San Jose Earthquakes next season.
Giles Barnes started the scoring for a 1-0 Dynamo lead in the 37th minute after capitalizing on a rebound from an Omar Cummings shot that goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth initially saved.
Two minutes after Jermaine Jones entered the field in the second half, the U.S. National Team midfielder set up the equalizer, connecting with Alston. The substitute crossed to unmarked Nguyen, who put the ball in the back of the net past keeper Tyler Deric.
Nguyen scored the game winner shortly before the final whistle, assisted by Darius Barnes. Dating back to July 30, Nguyen has 11 goals and four assists in 13 games with the Revs going 9-2-2 in that time. Nguyen was fouled four times in the game and has been fouled 75 times this season – the third highest total in MLS this season.
The Revolution return to action on Saturday, October 25, when they host Toronto FC in the teams’ regular-season finale at Gillette Stadium. The game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet.
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HOU – Giles Barnes 11 (Unassisted) 37’
NE – Lee Nguyen 16 (Kevin Alston 3, Jermaine Jones 4) 65’
NE – Lee Nguyen 17 (Darrius Barnes 2) 86’
HOU – Jermaine Taylor (Yellow Card) 47’
HOU – Luis Garrido (Yellow Card) 52’
HOU – Giles Barnes (Yellow Card) 73’
New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth; Andrew Farrell (Kevin Alston 50’), Jose Goncalves ©, A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes; Daigo Kobayashi (Jermaine Jones 65’), Scott Caldwell; Steve Neumann, Lee Nguyen, Kelyn Rowe; Patrick Mullins (Charlie Davies 58’).
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Knighton, Andy Dorman, Tony Taylor, Diego Fagundez
STATS: Shots 20, Shots on target 5, Saves 2, Corner kicks 8, Offsides 2, Fouls 7, Possession 44.3%, Passes 312 (66.0%)
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; Kofi Sarkodie, A.J. Cochran, David Horst, Jermaine Taylor; Andrew Driver (Oscar Garcia 65’), Ricardo Clark, Luis Garrido (Servando Carrasco 77’), Brad Davis ©; Giles Barnes, Omar Cummings (Will Bruin 80’).
Substitutes Not Used: Michael Lisch, Corey Ashe, Eric Brunner, Tony Cascio
STATS: Shots 12, Shots on target 3, Saves 3, Corner kicks 9, Offsides 3, Fouls 14, Possession 55.7%, Passes 378 (74.6%)
Referee: Ted Unkel
Assistant Referees: Jeff Muschik (AR1) and Paul Scott (AR2)
Fourth Official: Marcos de Oliveira