It was always going to be a difficult prospect for D.C. United as they were playing their third match in seven days and had to leave three players expected to play at home before boarding their plane to Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts.
New England got goals from Patrick Mullins and Diego Fagundez sandwiched around a Fabian Espindola strike to lead the Revolution to a 2-1 victory at rainy Gillette Stadium this evening in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
The Revolution came into the match having scored 10 goals in their previous two league matches but United did very well to stymie the potent Revs attack. With United leaving Chris Rolfe, Luis Silva and Conor Doyle back in D.C. due to various injuries and illness, head coach Ben Olsen was forced to shuffle his lineup. In came season starting debuts for Alex Caskey and Collin Martin as well as welcoming Eddie Johnson back from a league-imposed one game suspension last weekend.
For the first forty-five minutes at least, the Revolution knew it wasn’t going to be another goalfest. United defended in numbers and countered when the opportunity availed itself but both teams went to the locker room at half scoreless.
In the 55th minute the home side took the lead under a touch of controversy. Diego Fagundez did well to split the United defense in the penalty area before Jeff Parke intervened and knocked the ball away. The ball ricochet off of Fagundez and was just about to be cleared by Chris Korb when he was hip-checked off the ball by Lee Nguyen. The play went uncalled and first-round draft pick from the University of Maryland Patrick Mullins picked up the ball and scored at a narrow angle past Bill Hamid to give the Revs the 1-0 lead. It was the fourth consecutive game that Mullins had scored for the Revolution in as many starts.
Undaunted, United bounced back and leveled the match in the 73rd minute. Substitute Lewis Neal played a ball to the left wing where Cristian Fernandez’ cross found Espindola in the penalty area. The Argentine striker took a touch to settle and drove it straight through the Revs defense and United seemed in business.
Just four minutes later however a defensive lapse by Neal would help provide the game-winning goal for the Revolution. Neal was stripped a bit too easily deep along the left touch line and the ball was immediately sent into the area by Teal Bunbury. The dangerous ball was parried by Hamid but it unfortunately fell right in stride for Fagundez who’s angled strike easily found the net.
More trouble was heaped on United just a few minutes later when Eddie Johnson was shown a straight red card by referee Juan Guzman. Guzman, you will recall, was the referee who failed to give a red card to a Columbus defender after Johnson was taken down from behind while on a breakaway towards goal on April 19th. Guzman showed no hesitation to card Johnson after Johnson was fouled by Kelyn Rowe. Johnson appeared to kick out at Rowe while he was on the ground.
Even playing a man down, United very nearly leveled the match in the 89th minute when Cristian’s diving header was swept off the line by a Revolution defender on the post for the corner kick. That was all that United had left on the evening and now they must turn their attention towards their match next Saturday night against Sporting Kansas City at RFK Stadium. The match is at 7pm EST and will be televised on Comcast SportsNet.