FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Sometimes, you don’t need five goals to notch three points.
Fresh off back-to-back five-goal performances and a pair of comfortable wins, it was a more conventional manner of victory for the New England Revolution on Saturday night as the home side grinded out a nail-biting 2-1 win over Eastern Conference rival D.C. United.
“There are going to be games where you’ve got to find a way,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “Fortunately for us, those last two games, things went our way and bounces went our way. But tonight it just felt like we were going to have to make it happen.
“We knew we weren’t going to be given anything – we had to go take it. I think that’s what I’m taking away from the game is that we went out and found a way, and that’s what I’m most proud about.”
Chances were limited throughout a cagey first half in which both sides struggled to break down resolute opposition, but a persistent approach paid off with the opening goal in the 55th minute when rookie forward Patrick Mullins poked home from a tight angle to bring his goal-scoring streak up to four games.
United substitute Fabian Espindola briefly pulled the visitors level in the 73rd minute, but Diego Fagundez provided an immediate response with his fourth goal in the past three games, lifting the Revs to their fifth straight win and extending their lead atop the Eastern Conference standings to five points entering Sunday’s action.
While it was a pair of youngsters who scored the Revolution’s goals on Saturday night, Heaps credited the club’s veteran leadership with providing the necessary impetus on an evening when sheer will and determination provided the margin of victory.
“You can win games different ways, and I think we’ve shown a couple different varieties of ways,” said Heaps. “But in terms of tonight, an Eastern Conference game, when it starts to rain and you get a goal, give up a goal, where are the tough guys going to step up? I think our guys did really well tonight.”