The New England Revolution looked something very close to dead one month ago after a loss at Chicago – a loss to a team appeared to be chasing the very same playoff spot Jay Heaps and his Revs were after.
And the Revolution looked almost dead two weeks ago when New York’s Tim Cahill scored that dramatic equalizer so deep into stoppage time at Red Bull Arena, blocking off New England from what was looking like a massive three points on the road.
And yet New England just keeps hanging in there. Last week’s 1-0 win at Montreal was huge – although it would have meant little without a big follow-up tonight in a match against Columbus, a team that was all but mathematically out of the race.
Well, Columbus is officially out of its now. And Heaps’ team, against considerably stacked odds, is very much in it.
Young MLS sensation Diego Fagundez was left unmarked at the far post for his 12th goal this year – his 12th goal! It was the match-winner in yet another massive result for the Revs, a 3-2 win at a Gillette Stadium that was suddenly alive with hope.
Fagundez guy is just 18 years old, and yet his goals have been so important to the Revs this year. It wasn’t just the critical goal Saturday, either; Fagundez played with the awareness and wherewithal of a player 10 years older.
Now Heaps’ team has this: one more match against Columbus in Ohio (yes, the same team it just beat – more goofy MLS scheduling). A win at Crew Stadium may not be enough to get the Revs into the playoffs for the first time since 2009, but they probably won’t get there without one.
There’s still a chance, at least – and one more win would probably give the Revs a good chance.
Here are the highlights from Saturday, including Fagundez’s match-winner:
The United States takes on Costa Rica in a friendly tonight at Red Bull Arena, as the USMNT must put the Mexico match behind them and focus on the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
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The biggest inclusion in tonight’s starting XI is that of Tim Howard in goal, marking his return to the national side after taking a self-imposed sabbatical. It will be Howard’s first appearance for the USMNT since his legendary performance against Belgium in the 2014 World Cup.
Klinsmann has chosen to go with a 4-4-2 tonight, and Geoff Cameron remains the only starter in the back-line from the Mexico match. He’ll partner with Michael Orozco in the center of defense, with Brad Evans and Tim Ream on the outsides.
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In the midfield, Klinsmann has put some speed on the wings through the likes of DeAndre Yedlin and recent call-up Brek Shea. Danny Williams joins Jermaine Jones as the central midfielders.
Up top, Jozy Altidore will play alongside Gyasi Zardes, who returns to his more comfortable position as forward.
Cristiano Ronaldo has added another trophy to the collection, winning his fourth Golden Boot as Europe’s top scorer for the 2014-15 season.
The award accounts for goals in league play only, which means the Champions League and domestic tournaments are not included. In La Liga, Ronaldo scored 48 goals in 35 appearances.
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Ronaldo first won the award after the 2007-08 season with Manchester United, and has now added three more with Real Madrid in 2010-11, 2013-14, and 2014-15.
With his fourth win, Ronaldo moves ahead of Lionel Messi as the only player to win the award four times. Messi has won three, while eight players have won two.
Below is a post from Ronaldo’s Facebook page reflecting on the award:
What a special moment in my professional life!
Winning four Golden Boots is a privilege for me and I’ll keep challenging myself because I want to do better every time and I want to keep chasing for more records.
I have to thank everyone in Real Madrid that made this possible and we want to keep winning more titles and more trophies. Thank you everyone.
Ronaldo alone scored more goals in La Liga play last season than 14 clubs did, which shows how prolific his season was. The only player to score more than 48 league goals in a European season was Messi, who scored 50 in 2011-12.
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While it was a successful year for Ronaldo personally, it was a very disappointing campaign for Real Madrid, who fired manager Carlo Ancelotti after finishing the season without a trophy.