FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The attacking floodgates finally opened on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium as a trio of New England Revolution goals secured a 3-1 victory over the Montreal Impact.
As the teams appeared poised to head into the break scoreless, rookie Henry Kessler found the back of the net on the stroke of halftime with a powerful, quick finish off a set piece. Kessler’s strike set the tone for the Revs, shifting the momentum in the hosts’ favor for the second half.
“We’ve wanted to finish more chances,” said Diego Fagundez, who came off the bench to score the Revs' third and final goal. “I think today we got an opportunity to do that. Once we got the first one in, I think the second one was coming.”
What came along with Kessler’s finish was not only a 1-0 lead, but also an emotional boost. A whole-team, whole-hearted celebration for Kessler’s opening goal galvanized the group and restored their energy to finish strong in the second half.
“It meant a lot,” said Kessler of the group celebration. “I was obviously very excited [to score] my first goal, but my teammates, they also support me and I’m so thankful for that. They were excited for me, too, so that made the moment all the better.”
Kessler’s teammates echoed just how special that moment was.
“It was one of those things that the goals needed to be coming and for us to get one, especially on a set piece, it was huge,” said Fagundez. “I don’t know what he was thinking – but he was probably thinking about food while he was hitting the ball – and we’re all glad that he scored.
“It was a good professional goal for him so now he just needs to keep improving and when he has those chances, bury them.”
Luckily, as a rookie, Kessler will have plenty of opportunities to continue to do so.
“It’s maybe the tenth game of his professional career, so if he can do that on a consistent basis, that’d be pretty good,” said head coach Bruce Arena. “It was a good goal off the corner kick, certainly. And he played a good game tonight. He really did.”
“[Bruce Arena] actually makes fun of me quite a bit,” said Kessler. “He wants me to score three or four goals a year. He says that’s a goal center backs should have, to score around there. I think some of it is just getting our timing down on set pieces. I thought Kelyn [Rowe] was really good on the set pieces. Lee [Nguyen] served him good balls. Just being ready for the seconds, and today we did well on those.”
As Kessler celebrates his big professional milestone, he still continues to look for ways to progress.
“It’s something I want to continue to work on,” said Kessler. “Not just being aggressive offensively, but in buildup, too. On the ball can be many different things, not just scoring or attacking the ball in the box, but building out of the back as well. Certainly, there’s plenty of room to improve myself.”
With 10 regular season games left on the books, Kessler and his teammates will look to build upon this performance. The New England Revolution will next kick off at D.C. United on Sunday, September 27 to continue their momentum from their home win against the Montreal Impact.