FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution snapped a three-game winless run on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, coming from behind to take down the New York Red Bulls 2-1.
Bradley Wright-Phillips opened the scoring for New York (7-4-1, 22 points) by out-jumping Andrew Farrell to head in a cross from Sean Davis in the eighth minute.
The Red Bulls couldn’t sustain their hot start, though, and were second best for most of the remainder of the match as the Revolution (6-4-4, 22 points) came back.
Diego Fagundez equalized in first half stoppage time, volleying past Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara on a sequence that started off a throw-in; Teal Bunbury netted the game-winner and extended his scoring streak to three games by poking home a driven feed from the left flank by Cristian Penilla in the 78th minute.
“Really happy with the performance,” said Revolution head coach Brad Friedel. “Really happy, again, with the character the players showed going a goal down, especially so early.”
Friedel made some tactical changes ahead of a tight, upcoming stretch in which the Revolution play three games in eight days, starting with a U.S. Open Cup fixture at Louisville City.
On Saturday, Friedel started Claude Dielna at left back for Gabriel Somi, who failed a fitness test. He also rested midfielders Scott Caldwell and Wilfried Zahibo and went with Kelyn Rowe and Luis Caicedo. Additionally, Krisztian Nemeth made his first start of the season.
The changes didn’t seem to be bearing fruit in the early stages of the match as Wright-Phillips capitalized in just the eighth minute – the earliest New England has conceded all season – after the Revolution coughed up possession.
But the Revolution, who out-possessed New York and also out-shot them 10-9, offered the visitors very little for the remainder of the match.
New England started asserting itself soon after conceding. New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara parried a drive from Rowe at the near post in the 11th minute, and then denied Dielna from a direct freekick 10 minutes later.
Nemeth played Bunbury in behind the defense in the 27th minute, but Meara managed to smother the breakaway.
In one minute into first half stoppage time, though, Meara’s luck finally ran out. Bunbury collected a throw-in from Dielna and crossed into the box for Nemeth, who touched the ball wide. Fagundez emerged to meet Nemeth’s feed, his blast flying past Meara for the equalizer.
“Good throw-in by Claude…I remember Teal turning, and once he played it across the box I didn’t know if Krisztian Nemeth was going to touch it or not,” Fagundez said. “But I knew the ball was going to end up there, and he gave it a little touch. I just had to do my job and finish it.
“When you score early in the half or at the end of the half, it brings the momentum up for your team. It was the perfect timing for us.”
Nemeth nearly created a go-ahead goal in the 63rd minute when he was taken down in the box by New York’s Kemar Lawrence, but referee Jose Carlos Rivero ignored calls to award a penalty kick despite replay showing there was contact on the play.
But New England didn’t have to wait much longer for its go-ahead goal, as Bunbury produced the pivotal strike 15 minutes later,
The play started near the right edge of the box with Luis Caicedo, who played a ball across New York’s back line to Cristian Penilla; Penilla then drove it back toward the center of the area where Bunbury poked it into the back of the net from inside the six-yard box.
“I don’t think [that goal happens] without Luis Caicedo’s involvement,” Friedel said. “[Penilla] is very quick, very difficult to defend against. He gets into one-on-one situations, once he shifts the ball to his right- or his left-hand side it’s not impossible, but it’s very difficult to stop him.”
The Revolution’s victory came on Pride Night at Gillette Stadium; the numbers and names on the back of Revs kits was stenciled in rainbow colors to mark the occasion. Additionally, Saturday’s announced crowd – 21,567 – was so far the Revolution’s biggest of the season.
New England is now tied with the Red Bulls for fourth place in the Eastern Conference but sit fifth on goal differential.
New York Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch hangs his head after the New England Revolution scored the go ahead goal during the second half of New England's 2-1 win at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports