The New England Revolution celebrate one of their two goals in their 2-1 win over the Rochester Rhinos. Photo: Kari Heistad (capturedimages.biz) for NESoccerToday.com
Two former Open Cup champs met at Stevenson Field, on the campus of Brown University in Providence, RI for their Fifth Round US Open Cup match. USL PRO’s Rochester Rhinos (who won the tourney as a member of the USL’s A-League in 1999) faced MLS’ New England Revolution (2007 champs) for a spot in the quarterfinals.
This was the sixth meeting all-time between the two clubs, with New England taking 4 of the 5 previous matches. Rochester was surely angling to enact a bit of revenge on the Revs after last year’s 5-2 loss.
Alas, it would not be the Rhinos night. Behind the play of Lee Nyugen, New England took a two-goal lead in the first half and held off a renewed effort from Rochester in the second to secure the 2-1 win.
Nguyen created the opportunity for the first Revs goal in the ninth minute.
Streaking into the box and drawing the Rochester defense, Nguyen dished the ball to Saer Sene who dribbled around a defender to the left side of the Rhinos net, then shot the ball past Rochester keeper John McCarthy into the net’s lower right corner. From there, the Rhinos tried to gather their composure but fell prey to a number of Revs clearances spun into scoring opportunities.
In the 25th minute, a long ball to Sene near the midfield turned into a Revs scoring chance when Sene ran down the left side to the box, passed it to Steve Neumann at the top, who in turn sent a pass to the right to Caldwell. He fired the ball just wide of the Rochester net.
The Revs struck again on a similar play with Nguyen charging from the left side, sending a shot soaring to McCarthy, who made the save but couldn’t control the rebound. Kelyn Rowe was right there to knock it past the keeper in the 33rd minute. That goal was Rowe’s sixth Open Cup goal in five games (across three years).
Rochester controled play early in the second half. The Rhinos put together a number of passes but failed to get a serious challenge at the New England net until the 55th minute. The Rhinos finally broke through when Jonny Mendoza sent a cross over the box from the left side and Colin Rolfe deflected it past the Revs’ with a header from the penalty spot towards the far post.
With Nguyen being subbed off at halftime, the Revolution clearly missed his playmaking ability in the second half and despite Charlie Davies coming on in the 60th minute, the team just couldn’t mount any sustained pressure. Couple that with Rochester’s desperate attempts to level the score which made for some tense moments. That was until the 89th minute when Rochester went down to 10 men as Babacar Diallo earned a red card on a serious foul on New England’s Patrick Mullins (plus a kick when Mullins was down). This all but sealed Rochester’s fate as stoppage time would finish with New England claiming the victory.
New England moves on the the Quarterfinal Round where it will travel to Philadelphia to face the Union at PPL Park on July 8.
Brandon Gee is a freelance writer who works for a variety of media outlets. Follow him on Twitter @utpbrandon.
HIGHLIGHTS/INTERVIEWS: ROCHESTER AT NEW ENGLAND
FULL MATCH REPLAY: ROCHESTER AT NEW ENGLAND