COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jose Goncalves wasn’t searching for any type of personal redemption on Saturday night at Crew Stadium, but the New England Revolution captain found it anyway when his first MLS goal proved to be the stoppage-time winner in a 2-0 victory over the Columbus Crew.
Goncalves was disappointed with his performance in Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rapids. Essentially a unanimous pick among national writers as the league’s best defender through the first half of the season, Goncalves made a rare miscue when he was beaten by Nick LaBrocca on the game-tying goal. Five minutes later he was unfortunate to turn the ball into his own net while stretching for a cross at the near post.
Those memories were wiped away on Saturday night, however, as Goncalves helped the Revs keep their club-record 11th clean sheet of the season and capped a strong performance with a dramatic winner, rising to nod home Lee Nguyen’s corner kick in the first minute of stoppage time.
“I saw the ball – it was a good ball from Lee on the back post and I was in a great position – so I was just thinking, ‘I will not miss it,’” Goncalves said matter-of-factly. “So that’s it. I put it in.”
The 27-year-old center back said the victory and subsequent three points were most important, as opposed to any individual redemption. He’d already put Wednesday night’s performance behind him and was simply thrilled with a critical win against an Eastern Conference opponent. Spoken like a true captain.
But head coach Jay Heaps knew Goncalves had a little something extra in the tank on Saturday night after an incredibly rare off-night in Colorado.
“The other night he was disappointed,” Heaps said. “He dove in (on LaBrocca’s goal). That’s not something he normally does and I knew he was carrying this team tonight. He wanted to win this game more than anything and you could tell the way he defended, the way he played all night. And then to get the winner is a special thing for him.”