After a slow, scoreless first half of play, the skies and the game opened up in a second half that featured a little bit of everything, ending in a New England Revolution 2-1 victory over Eastern Conference rival D.C. United Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
As much as there were goals in the second half, there were a greater number of bookings, including a questionable red card ejection on Eddie Johnson in the 82nd minute.
Already without Chris Rolfe in the lineup, D.C. (5-4-3, 18 points) were forced to play a man down over the final stretch, with the Revs (7-3-2, 23 points) already controlling with the one-goal advantage.
New England broke a scoreless tie in the 55th minute off the foot of Patrick Mullins who scored for the fourth time in four games.
Diego Fagundez created space, stepping into the box and parting the defense who were able to close in before he could get a shot on, but Mullins was on the right doorstep where he punched it past United 'keeper Bill Hamid for the 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later D.C. inserted leading goal scorer Fabian Espindola into the lineup and, in the 73rd minute, it paid dividends when he buried home a cross from Cristian Fernandez to square things up, breaking a 432 minute home shutout streak for the Revolution.
It was the sixth goal of the season for Espindola.
The Revs struck back just five minutes later when Teal Bunbury’s low cross through the box was pushed off the line by Hamid, but on to the foot of Fagundez who fired it through for his fourth goal in three games.
After missing five games with a right quad strain, last season’s MLS Defending Player of the Year Jose Goncalves returned to the New England lineup, putting in a full 90 minutes, working with A.J. Soares in smothering Johnson in the middle.
There were six cards dealt out in the match: three yellows and a red to D.C.; two yellows on the Revolution side.
D.C. return home to host Sporting K.C, also on Saturday.
Goals: Patrick Mullins (Diego Fagundez) 55', Fabian Espindola (Cristian Fernandez) 73', Diego Fagundez (77')
Disciplinary: Chris Korb (yellow, 39'), Perry Kitchen (yellow, 42'), Teal Bunbury (yellow, 64'), Diego Fagundez (yellow, 67'), Davy Arnaud (yellow, 67'), Eddie Johnson (Red, ejected) 82'
DCU Lineups: Hamid; Parke, Fernandez, Korb, Boswell; Arnaud (Porter 87'), DeLeon, Kitchen, Caskey (Neal 63'); Martin (Espindola 70'), Johnson
NER Lineups: Shuttleworth; Tierney, Goncalves (c), Soares, Farrell; Dorman; Fagundez (Neumann 88'), Nguyen (Caldwell 81'), Kobayashi (Rowe 53'), Bunbury; Mullins