SEATTLE, Wash. – Benny Feilhaber returned to the New England Revolution’s lineup for the first time since May 28 and set up Sainey Nyassi’s opening goal in the third minute, but it wasn’t enough for the Revs to break their road hex as goals from Tyson Wahl and Alvaro Fernandez lifted Seattle Sounders FC to a 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at CenturyLink Field.
The Revs are now winless in their last seven league matches (0-5-2) and have suffered six straight losses away from home after opening the season with road draws against the LA Galaxy and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Feilhaber – who missed the last four games with a right ankle sprain – slotted straight back into the starting lineup and made an instant impact upon his return, playing a clever short corner for Nyassi to blast home from the top of the box with the first shot of the game.
It was an ideal start for the Revs, who then proceeded to limit Seattle to one off-target shot in the game’s opening 30 minutes.
“We started off as well as we could’ve hoped for,” said central midfielder Pat Phelan. “We did well to get the goal and weather the storm in the beginning.”
The game changed in the 34th minute, however, when Wahl made the most of a set-piece opportunity and curled a stunning free kick into the upper left corner from 20 yards out. After waiting patiently for the first half-hour, suddenly the 36,212 fans in attendance had something to cheer about as the Sounders pulled even at 1-1.
“The crowd went quiet (after Sainey’s goal) and we were doing just fine,” said rookie defender A.J. Soares. “Once [the Sounders] got that first goal, the crowd got back into things.”
Buoyed by the increasingly vocal hometown support – and aided by a bizarre equipment malfunction – Seattle completed its comeback with a second goal just six minutes later.
With Revolution defender Kevin Alston slowed by a busted cleat, Mauro Rosales linked up with Roger Levesque to tee up Fernandez inside the box as Alston tried to recover. Fernandez curled a first-time shot off the outstretched fingertips of Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis to record his team-leading fourth goal of the season.
Trailing at halftime and desperate to find an equalizer, the Revs generated a few quality scoring chances in the second half. Most notable amongst the chances were Shalrie Joseph’s 50th-minute header which forced Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller into a fine save and Zack Schilawski’s 85th-minute drive which clanged off the crossbar.
The Revs eventually ran out of time, however, and were frustratingly left with no points from their travels.
“We needed to chase the game and put pressure on them,” said Phelan. “We didn’t really find a rhythm. We had some chances, but overall, we’re disappointed.”