Mar 10, 2018; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Revolution forward Cristian Penilla (70) and Colorado Rapids midfielder Marlon Hairston (94) battle for the ball during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
FOXBOROUGH—The New England Revolution won their home opener after Chris Tierney converted a stoppage-time free kick in the last act of the game.
Tierney’s winner followed Diego Fagundez’s 48th minute goal as the Revs extended their unbeaten home streak to nine games (8-0-1) with a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids.
This important victory comes after the Revolution lost both of their starting center backs to red cards in last week’s game at the Philadelphia Union. Claude Dielna and Antonio Mlinar Delamea were replaced by Andrew Farrell, who played right back last week, and Jalil Anibaba.
In an uneventful first half, the first notable moment of the game was a head-on collision between New England’s Gabriel Somi and Colorado’s Jack McBean in the 14th minute. Somi was taken off two minutes later for further medical assistance and replaced by Chris Tierney. McBean received a yellow card for elbowing Somi.
The Revolution took six shots during the first half, including three by Brandon Bye in his first MLS start. After the game, he said that he felt comfortable, noting the guidance of his teammates.
“The guys around me—Farrell, Kelyn Rowe—obviously [were] positioning me, telling me where to go, and that’s really helpful,” he said. “With that I try to do my part, try to the best that I can.”
Three minutes into the second half, Diego Fagundez scored the Revolution’s first, slotting the ball into the center of the goal behind Rapids keeper Tim Howard.
Five minutes later, the Rapids were given a penalty for a foul by Jalil Anibaba against Johan Blomberg. Goalkeeper Matt Turner saved the initial spot kick, and Jack Price’s second try shot over the goal, preserving the Revolution’s lead.
The crucial save comes in Turner’s second appearance for the Revolution, and fans should expect him to keep the spot for now. In a press conference after the game, Head Coach Brad Friedel said that the number one spot is Turner’s “for now.”
“Every position is always still fluid,” he said. “The shirt is, right now, Matt [Turner]’s to lose, but Brad [Knighton] and Cody [Cropper] are both excellent goalkeepers and they’re going to try to put as much pressure on Matt as possible.”
In the 65th minute, the Rapids gave Niki Jackson his MLS debut, and he scored in the same minute, assisted by Blomberg. Turner hesitated before coming out of the goal, giving Jackson time to position the ball and shoot.
After Jackson’s goal, chances slowed for both sides, with only a few missed shots until Tierney’s stoppage-time heroics. Wilfried Zahibo won a free-kick in front of the goal in the 90+2nd minute, which Tierney converted.
“We work on [free kicks] all the time,” Tierney said at the press conference. “I’ve always prided myself on being able to strike the ball…I hit a hundred of those this week in practice, so when I got the chance I knew that it was going to be—I liked my chances.”
The New England Revolution have a bye next week, but they will face NYCFC in New York on March 24. The Colorado Rapids will next play Sporting Kansas City at home on the same day.