FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Marko Perovic scored the game-winning goal with a stunning free kick in the 67th minute and the consistently dangerous Sainey Nyassi added an insurance tally seven minutes later, as the New England Revolution snapped a three-game losing streak with a 2-0 victory over the league-leading LA Galaxy on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
Perovic’s goal midway through the second half snapped a 347-minute scoring drought for the Revs (4-9-2, 14 pts.), who hadn’t scored since their most recent victory, a 3-2 win over the New York Red Bulls on May 29. Nyassi’s strike in the 74th minute then defied the statistics once again, as the Revs became the first team to score two goals against the resolute Galaxy (11-2-3, 36 pts.) this season.
With the win, the Revs pulled themselves off the bottom of the table in the Eastern Conference and immediately climbed the ladder into fifth place. Despite the loss, the Galaxy remains six points clear of Real Salt Lake at the head of the league standings.
The Revolution made just one change from the lineup which suffered a 5-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake last Friday night, as Darrius Barnes replaced Cory Gibbs in central defense. Gibbs was ruled out after suffering a left quad strain in training earlier this week, paving the way for Barnes to return to the lineup for the first time since early May after recovering from a right foot and ankle injury.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, was without two of its most influential players in U.S. National Team star Landon Donovan and standout defender Omar Gonzalez. Donovan remained in LA to rest following his participation in the FIFA World Cup, while Gonzalez was suspended for yellow-card accumulation.
Just as they did against Real Salt Lake last weekend, the Revs started the match on the front foot as they pushed to snap a scoreless streak spanning more than three matches. But unlike they did in that loss to RSL – in which New England’s game-plan broke down after conceding midway through the first half – the Revs stayed strong in midfield and controlled the tempo in the opening 45 minutes.
Despite New England’s superiority in terms of possession, the first half was largely devoid of quality scoring chances for either side. The Revs threatened in the 13th minute when Shalrie Joseph’s cutting through ball opened up the Galaxy backline, but indecision between eventual goal-scorers Nyassi and Perovic ended the chance. At the other end, Matt Reis – who made five saves to record his first shutout of the season – was called into action a few times by long-range shots from Edson Buddle and Tristan Bowen, but nothing which seriously troubled the Revolution goalkeeper.
With neither team creating any clear-cut chances in the first half, the most influential piece of action was an injury suffered by Revolution midfielder Jason Griffiths. The rookie – who was making his second consecutive start after earning his first career start last week in Salt Lake City – appeared to suffer a muscle strain in the 28th minute, and as a result he was replaced by Joseph Niouky.
While the first half was lacking in quality scoring chances, the game opened up shortly after the halftime break and the Revs almost took the lead in the 51st minute. Joseph was again the provider with a cleverly chipped pass over the Galaxy backline, but Perovic couldn’t get around the ball and directed his shot just outside the left post and into the side netting.
Perovic didn’t make the same mistake in the 67th minute, firing home from a set piece to give the Revs a deserved 1-0 lead. The original free kick was 30 yards from goal and Perovic’s effort was driven into the Galaxy wall, but the ball struck Leonardo’s hand and Perovic was given another chance 10 yards closer to goal. At the second attempt, Perovic drilled his shot low around the wall and inside the left post as Los Angeles goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts reacted late.
The Revs wasted little time doubling their lead in the 74th minute, as Nyassi grabbed the goal he deserved for his endeavor down the right wing. Joseph started the chance with a long-distance shot from 25 yards, and the effort deflected off Nyassi as he ran across the top of the box. Ricketts recovered well to push the ball off the left post, but Nyassi was left with the simple task of blasting the ball into the empty net from one yard out.
Second-half substitute Kheli Dube came inches from scoring a third for the Revs in the 81st minute with a fantastic turn and shot, but his effort flew just wide of the right post. In the end, it didn’t matter as two goals were plenty enough to hand the Revs their fourth win of the season.
Just a few weeks after returning from the World Cup break, the Revs will now take another break from league play to participate in the group stage of SuperLiga 2010. They’ll open the tournament by welcoming Mexican Primera División club Pumas UNAM to Gillette Stadium on Wednesday, July 14 for an 8 p.m. kickoff.
New England Revolution (4-9-2, 14 pts.) vs. LA Galaxy (11-2-3, 36 pts.)
July 10, 2010 – Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
NE – Marko Perovic (Unassisted) 67
NE – Sainey Nyassi (Unassisted) 74
LA – Tristan Bowen (caution) 43
LA – Juninho (caution) 64
NE – Sainey Nyassi (caution) 88
Referee: Paul Ward
Referee’s Assistants: C.J. Morgante, Jeff Muschik
Fourth Official: Jasen Anno
Weather: Cloudy and 75 degrees
The Revolution win pulls New England to a 13-15-5 all-time record against the LA Galaxy, and is the Revs first win over LA in their last five meetings … additionally, the Revolution improved to 9-5-2 at home against LA, including 6-1-2 at Gillette Stadium since the facility opened in 2002.
New England became only the second team in 2010 to beat the Galaxy, and salvaged a regular-season series split with LA.
Darrius Barnes saw his first game action in over two months- since he suffered a foot injury at Columbus on May 8 … Barnes stepped in for the injured Cory Gibbs, who sat with a left quad strain.
Jason Griffiths left the game, his second career start, in the 28th minute with a leg injury … he was replaced by Joseph Niouky.
The Revs held their opponent scoreless in the first half for the first time since a visit to Toronto FC (May 22), a span of four games.
The Revolution broke a 347-minute scoreless streak when Marko Perovic struck on a free kick.
The two goals conceded by the LA Galaxy marked the first time all season that the MLS points’ leader gave up more than one goal.
The Revolution picked up its first win over a Western Conference club in eight tries this season, improving its record to 1-5-2 … the win is also the Revs’ first overall victory over a Western conference team dating back to last season, their first in 10 tries.