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Sunday, May 31, 2015

In Their First Rematch Since Last Year's Crushing MLS Cup Loss, Revolution Tie Galaxy 2-2


It is still May (for a less than an hour) but the 2015 Red Sox' (22-29) season already looks hopeless. That means once again we need something to distract us in the sports wasteland known as summer with Patriots training camp and preseason games still over two months away. I'm not trying to convert anyone (that's not my style) but only noting that the Revolution (5-3-6) appear to be a title contender in MLS for those that care. New England lost in heartbreaking fashion-2-1 in overtime-in the 2014 MLS Cup vs. Los Angeles (5-4-6) and on Sunday, those budding rivals met at Gillette Stadium in basically a monsoon.

They tied 2-2 in a up-and-down match that featured about as exciting a first half as you'll ever see (in MLS at least) before a dull second half that had no goals and few chances for either side. New England has tied its last three matches and they are winless in their last five (0-1-4) so they really could have used three points despite the fact that they are in second-place in the East (four points behind D.C.). Nothing was officially announced tonight but midfielder Jermaine Jones left in the first half with a groin injury and it sounds pretty serious. You feel terrible for him because he had just been called up earlier in the day for the US National team's exhibitions at Holland and Germany later this week. At 33 you never know, that might have been his last shot to represent the U.S. Ugh, hopefully that is not the case though.

The Revs grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fifth minute thanks to their quickest goal of the season. Midfielder Scott Caldwell served a perfect cross to the far post where midfielder Teal Bunbury ran onto it and one-touched the ball into LA's net. That was Bunbury's third goal of the season and Caldwell's fourth assist of the season as he becomes one of the team's rising stars.

The Galaxy responded soon after that as they scored a pretty goal in the 18th minute. Rookie midfielder Ignacio Maganto volleyed in a blast from outside the box that Revolution goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth had no chance to stop. Would you believe that was his first career goal? It had been the seventh straight match that New England had scored the first goal, which shows their need to tighten things up once they get a lead. Granted, they were missing defender Chris Tierney and star midfielder Lee Nguyen vs. LA because both had accumulated too many yellow cards in previous matches.

LA made it 2-1 in the 27th minute on a beautiful back heel by Maganto that was finished by standout forward Gyasi Zardes (another USMNT member). Perhaps the most notable development of the game, well besides Jones' injury, was the final goal. Revs midfielder Diego Fagundez has showed plenty of promise the last few years but head coach Jay Heaps doesn't seem to have much confidence in the youngster. Fagundez got the start tonight and he came through with a gorgeous free kick goal in the 37th minute. He bent the direct kick around LA's wall and past a diving Penedo. It was his first goal of the season and it couldn't come at a better time for his confidence.

Not including their Open Cup match vs. Charlotte on June 17 at Harvard, three of New England's next four matches are on the road. That tough June starts with a meeting with the Timbers (5-5-4) on Saturday (10:30, CSN) in Portland. The Revolution never seem to play well on the West Coast and the Timbers have one of the better home field advantages in Major League Soccer at Providence Park so getting a positive result there will be a chore.




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