Capping an MLS Saturday that saw late goals change results in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Commerce City, Frisco, Seattle, and Santa Clara, New England may have pulled off the most remarkable theatrics of all. They out “Goonied” the Goonies. Finishing a counter attacker deep into second half stoppage time, Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen reversed the flow of a half that San Jose had controlled. In the process, he gave his team its first win of the season.
The game-winner wasn’t without controversy, though, as Charlie Davies, fouled on the play, failed to stop the ball before playing it to Scott Caldwell. It was a technicality fans held onto after, one pass later, Nguyen’s right-footed finish from the middle of the area beat Jon Busch inside the right post, giving the Revs a 2-1 win at Buck Shaw.
The goal was also New England’s first credited to one of its own players. The team came into the night having failed to score in its first three games but got on the board in the first half through Víctor Bernárdez. The Honduran’s 35th minute attempted clearance ended up in the back of his own net when his plant foot slipped while attempting to play the ball, giving New England a 1-0.
It’d be over a half-hour before the Earthquakes pulled that opener back, during which time the team slowly took control of the game. Up 1-0, New England began to setting into a more conservative approach, one reminiscent of last year’s team that was often for difficult to break down. In the 69th minute, however, the linchpin of last year’s defense, reigning Defender of the Year Jose Gonçalves, hit a poor clearance right to Chris Wondolowski, allowing the San Jose captain to equalize from close range.
The goal appeared to set Mark Watson’s team up for another trademark dramatic finish, but let on the losing end of Saturday’s last late-game heroics, San Jose was handed their first major setback of the season – a loss that ended the team’s 21-match home unbeaten run. That it came against a team that had failed to score in its previous 270 minutes puts their previous results in a new perspective. Though the Earthquakes looked impressive in games against Real Salt Lake, Toluca (twice), and Sporting Kansas City, they weren’t able to retain that form and claim their first win over the season.
Instead, that honor went to the Revolution, whose unexpected win continues the slow progress the team’s made since its embarrassing opener. But whereas results in Philadelphia and Vancouver had to be seen in terms of their silver linings, New England doesn’t have to explain this result.
Though there are still questions about the attack, those questions can be addressed from a new, victorious perspective. The Revolution is in the win column.