Moment of magic lifts Revolution over visiting Whitecaps in “clunky” game

Teal Bunbury and Kelyn Rowe goal celebration

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Teal Bunbury and Kelyn Rowe conjured up a moment of magic to seal a third straight home win for the New England Revolution on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, a gritty 1-0 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

Rowe started the move by winning a header from a Vancouver Whitecaps goal kick, then provided an exquisite curling ball from the right wing for Bunbury to tuck home with a first-time finish.

“It was going to take a special play, and Kelyn made an unbelievable run, and (played) an unbelievable ball into the box,” said Bunbury, who now has four goals on the season, all in the last five games. “I tried to time my run, and he placed it perfectly once again. I just wanted to bury it.”

It was the type of game that required a flash of inspiration to separate the sides. New England and Vancouver combined for just two shots on target in what Revolution head coach Jay Heaps called a “clunky” first half, and the visiting Whitecaps were content to disrupt the flow whenever possible.

But the game-changing moment arrived in the 53rd minute, and from there the Revs set out to tighten up defensively and see out the result, which they did with their sixth clean sheet of the season.

It was a welcomed bounce-back defensive performance from a Revolution side that was frustrated to concede four times last weekend in Chicago.

“We had a tough one last week,” said Heaps. “We felt like we needed to really focus on that again as one of our key points of emphasis this week. A good week of training that led to it.”

“Tonight we really did the simple things correctly defensively,” said goalkeeper Cody Cropper, who was credited with two saves, including a huge late stop on Fredy Montero. “We posted a shutout, and that was our goal going into the game.”

Now, once again, New England’s objective will be to replicate this performance away from home, as they’ll visit New York City FC and D.C. United the next two weekends to close out the month of August.

“For us, knowing that we’re on the road … just really closing those games out (is key),” said Cropper. “Going into the game with the right mentality and approaching the game how we did today.”