Wait, WHO Beat WHOM?!?!By: Ben | April 1st, 2012
New England’s 2012 season began as we all expected. The Rev’s lost their two opening road matches, including a 1-0 loss at San Jose and a whopping 3-0 spanking by Sporting. Things turned around only narrowly with the club’s home opener, as the club rode past the absences of Darrius Barnes, John Lozano, Stephen McCarthy, and Benny Feilhaber to find a 1-0 win over Portland. But all remained unwell in Foxboro, as the Revolution faced the upcoming challenge of the LA Galaxy. Keep in mind: the Revs’ had only managed one goal in three games, were still trying to gel between a new coach and handful of new talent, and hadn’t tasted victory in the West since 2009. And They were going against the Galaxy, the MLS phalanx many consider a likely candidate for a second consecutive “double”, at its very own fortress of the Home Depot Center.
And shit, they won.
In its first set of back to back wins since 2010, the little team that could beat the Galaxy 3-1 on its own turf. Scoring began in the 10th minute when NE captain Shalrie Joseph set rookie Kelyn Rowe up for his debut goal, a volley that was blocked, but whose rebound landed kindly on Mr. Rowe’s foot for the finish. The Rev’s struck again only three minutes later when a cheeky give and go with Joseph let Kevin Alston drill in a cross for Chris Tierney to finish. From there, New England’s offence came down as heavily on the Galaxy as the rain that flooded the Home Depot Center, with Tierney up shots in the 25th and 35th.
The Revs’ defense shined too, blocking a David Beckham free kick in the 39th and an Edson Buddle breakaway in stoppage.
The last strike from the underdogs came in the 65th, when Ryan Guy outdid two defenders to float a lofty cross into the box. Saer Sène finished with a header, pointing out both the inevitability of New England’s victory and the visible faults in LA’s defense. Pressure remained hot on the Galaxy’s goal and, despite Keane making a surprise finish on an Edson Buddle through ball in the 78th, the Revs flirted closely with the idea of a fourth goal.
And then the whistle blew, and David had beaten Goliath. It’s funny, I still don’t have much faith in New England. Their roster has tons of holes, lacking both solidarity and depth, and needs time to find itself under its new coach Jay Heaps. But I’ll be damned if they don’t have some sparks. Mark my words: we’ll be seeing Kelyn Rowe in a US jersey some day soon. And there is a lot more to Saer Sene than his haircut, as his physicality and field vision make him a fairly deadly striker under certain conditions. I don’t think the Revs will get far past the middle of the pack in 2012, but strong individual efforts could definitely culminate in a surprise playoff run (hint hint).
I guess we’ll see what happens. Until then, though, let’s give kudos to New England. They did what very, very few soccer teams have done in quite some time: beating LA at home. And no shitty 2011 record or lack of attendance can take that away.