FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Coming off of their first home loss since October 2015, the New England Revolution came back strong in a 2-1 victory over Seattle Sounders FC.
Seattle was without Clint Dempsey and Nelson Valdez, both on international duty.
The 77th-minute substitution of Femi Hollinger-Janzen, the Revolution’s third-round pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft, ultimately made the difference.
Hollinger-Janzen netted his second goal in three games when he blasted a shot past outstretched goalkeeper Stephen Frei.
“I think guys are keying on our other guys,” Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. “And he’s able to come in and think to score.”
Revs midfielder Lee Nguyen provided the short-distance assist just outside the box, as the rookie broke a 1-1 deadlock in the 80th minute.
“Initially, I didn’t see it go in,” the 22-year-old said. “And then I saw guys cheering and knew it was in then. (I’m) very happy to get the game winner there.”
In the 7th minute Aaron Kovar gathered the ball from Bobby Shuttleworth’s clearance and took touch past defender Chris Tierney before finishing a right-footer inside the far post.
Erik Friberg’s handball might have changed the course of the match.
Andrew Farrell sprinted to the endline and knocked the ball in the penalty area. Defender Zach Scott deflected it right to Friberg’s hand. Nguyen set up and converted to notch his 13th penalty-kick goal, a new club record over Shalrie Joseph.
“It’s excuses,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said of the controversial call. “He (the referee) called it and we have to live with it.”
New England’s midfield sustained enough pressure to have several chances around, and inside, the box in the first half.
Juan Agudelo emerged out of a crowd of Seattle defenders in the 13th minute but had his attempt blocked.
In the 29th minute Chris Tierney curled a low cross to the edge of the five-yard box, forcing Frei into a diving punched stop.
Six minutes later, Revolution newcomer Kei Kamara rocketed a half-volley into the face of Brad Evans, causing the defender to leave the game.
“He’s our captain and we all look up to him and he leads,” Frei said. “So, it’s tough to see him go out.”
Immediately after Hollinger-Janzen’s effort, Jordan Morris banged a header just wide of the post. Three minutes later, he crashed the net to strike Joevin Jones’ delivery but failed to connect.
That was ultimately the last chance for the Sounders and Morris, who had begun to make his case for the Rookie of the Year award by scoring goals in four straight matches.
Teal Bunbury clanged the crossbar in 85th minute, and Nguyen missed an opportunity within ten yards prior to the 90-minute mark.
“I think our game plan was really sound tonight,” Heaps said.
“We were going to press them at the right times, get some turnovers at the right spots, and then just continue to be relentless and I thought we were today.”
The Revs are now tied in points (16) with D.C. United and Toronto FC. They break for almost a month, their next contest being vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC on June 18.