FOXBOROUGH, MASS (March 10, 2018) – New England Revolution defeated Colorado Rapids 2-1 in their home opener on Saturday afternoon. After an evenly played match with Diego Fagundez and debutante Niki Jackson scoring, a Chris Tierney stoppage time goal on a free kick won the day for the Revs.
Chris Tierney Stoppage Time Goal Stuns Colorado Rapids As Revs Win 2-1
The first half wasn’t the most exciting affair. The two sides felt each other out in a cluttered midfield. The wingers and forwards had trouble getting on the end of passes and getting up field. The best chances for both sides came off corners. In the 26th minute, Tommy Smith got a clean header on a cross from Jack Price, but Matt Turner made the save. Then in the 38th minute, Howard had an uncomfortable punch out on a corner. Wilfried Zahibo got a header on the rebound, but put it wide. The half ended 0-0.
Things opened up in the second half as Diego Fagundez scored just three minutes in. Zahibo made a long run in transition and Fagundez buried the chance from inside the box. Colorado got a lifeline just minutes later as Jack McBean drew a PK against Jalil Anibaba. Jack Price surprisingly stepped up to take the kick. He did not hit it with pace, as Turner made the save to his right. Price had a chance on the rebound, but skied it over the bar.
The Rapids weren’t done yet. A minute after stepping onto the field, MLS debutante Niki Jackson made a run behind the back line. Johan Blomberg sent in a perfect falling cross towards him. Jackson ran onto it and headed it into the goal to make it 1-1.
Both sides had chances and it was a last chance free kick that made the difference. New England won a free kick in the final minute of stoppage time. Substitute Chris Tierney stepped up to take it. The ball deflected off the wall and went in. The Revs went on to win 2-1.
Three Things to Take Note of:
Vulnerable at the back: New England were short handed at the back throughout this match. Their top two center backs were given red cards last weekend, making them unavailable for the match. Matt Turner surprisingly has started both games so far for Head Coach Brad Friedel. Then 15 minutes into this match, Gabriel Somi was subbed out for concussion protocol after he was fouled by Jack McBean in the air. The Revs were short handed at the back for this one, but they survived.
The kid is alright: I’ll have to go into the record books for this one, but Niki Jackson had to have scored one of the fastest goals (time from MLS debut to first MLS goal) in league history. The 4th Round SuperDraft pick converted on a great header on his debut. This is after having a few good moments against Toronto FC last month. It’s still early, but so far the kid is alright.
A work in progress: Both of these teams had managers making their league debut with very new rosters and lots of debutantes on the field. New England had several players unavailable due to suspensions. Colorado had several players out with injuries. This match was an unfinished performance by two teams still figuring it out. There were some good moments, but the offenses were clearly in preseason form. We’ll see how they improve as the season gets underway.