FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The losing streak is over. Lee Nguyen made sure of it.
Nguyen was involved in all three New England Revolution goals – highlighted by a stunning free kick which gave the Revs a two-goal cushion moments after Colorado Rapids defender Thomas Piermayr had been sent off – to help guide New England to an emphatic 3-0, slump-busting victory on Wednesday night.
“Lee is, for me, one of the best players at his position in the league,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “When he’s playing well, he’s leading the attack in the other team’s half – he’s not dropping back too deep and he’s getting the ball in advanced positions running at teams, because he has that innate ability to find the open guy or take the shot himself.”
Nguyen did both on Wednesday night, scoring with a surefire Goal of the Week candidate in the 75th minute before assisting on Kelyn Rowe’s first goal of the season to cap the scoring just three minutes later. But it was Nguyen’s contribution on the first goal – when his shot forced Rapids defender Drew Moor to direct the ball into his own net – that likely had the greatest impact.
It was the first time the Revs had scored the game’s first goal – or held a lead in match – since their last victory back on May 24. With the win on Wednesday night the Revolution’s record when scoring the first goal improved to a perfect 7-0-0.
“It was great just to get the lead; didn’t know what it felt like to have a lead for a while,” said Nguyen, who was told by teammates that his initial effort was on target before Moor’s redirection. “We were able to play our game and guys were more relaxed after that. We weren’t having to press the whole time. We let them come at us and we were able to find a couple chances after that.”
Nguyen called the midweek victory – which snapped an eight-game losing streak – a “stepping stone” for the Revolution, which moved back into a tie for third place in the Eastern Conference despite recent struggles. Ending the skid was the first step, and now the Revs know they need to keep moving forward as they head back on the road this weekend for a Saturday night visit to the New York Red Bulls.
“It’s been nothing but adversity for us for a very long time,” said Rowe, who symbolically threw the monkey off his back after scoring his first goal of the year. “It’s good to get over that hump, but that hump isn’t over. We’ve still got a lot of games left in the season, we still have a goal to make the playoffs and we’re still in the running for it, so that’s our goal.
“Obviously it was a great win tonight; we have that in the back of our head that we can still do it. Now we go on to Saturday in New York.”