New England is still very much alive in the playoff race, currently in fifth place in the tightly packed East. A huge 2-1 win Saturday over D.C. United outside Boston saw Jay Heaps’ Revolution pull ahead of Chicago and Philadelphia, both of whom would be out of the post-season if things were decided today.
In all honesty, if the Revolution cannot claim all the points at home against D.C. United, a club banging on the door of historic lows in league play, then the club doesn’t deserve to be in the playoffs.
As the Revs have kept themselves afloat in the playoff race, too many times this year young Kelyn Rowe and even younger Diego Fagundez have been the heroes. Juan Agudelo, too. He has six goals for New England this year; Agudelo seems like a veteran, but the Premier League-bound U.S. international is still just 20 years old.
Fagundez scored yet again Saturday, now with 11 goals and six assists, a spectacular season for the 18-year-old, the Revolution’s first-ever homegrown signee.
But it was Lee Nguyen (pictured above, on the left) with the pressure shot, the late PK game-winner. It came after Nguyen had missed from the spot earlier Saturday from Gillette, so stepping up a second time, calling off teammates en route to the white-knuckle moment, was a big moment from the Texan.
In all honesty, the Revs need more big contribution like this from their veterans down the stretch. It was Nguyen who created the late penalty kick, taking on a defender inside United’s penalty area and being tripped as he burst to the right.
Juan Toja has long been a lost cause, so he’s out of the picture. But veteran Frenchman Saer Sene needs to do more. Same for Honduran international Jerry Bengtson. Maybe Andy Dorman or Charlie Davies can get their game together enough to get some meaningful minutes.
Until then, good on Nguyen for pulling his big-moment weight.
(And if the deciders at U.S. Soccer aren’t positioning themselves for Fagundez’s services, then they need to get right on it. Soon.
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