FOXBOROUGH — For the second straight week, the Revolution found themselves chasing down a tie at the last moment.
They had put themselves in a 2-1 hole against the Sounders after a pair of first-half headers from Seattle forward Eddie Johnson.
It was almost identical to the 2-1 ditch they dug themselves out of last Saturday in Toronto, when a stoppage-time equalizer from Chris Tierney saved them.
Playing from behind again Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, the Revolution tried desperately for most of the second half to punch in the tying goal, playing catch-up despite forcing more corner kicks, winning more duels, passing more accurately, and holding the ball longer.
But in the last of the four added minutes, they made a play.
On the left side, Fernando Cardenas juked his defender and sent a cross that bent hard into the box. He had seen Saer Sene and Diego Fagundez, and was hoping one of them could get a head on it.
Fagundez had been in the game for all of 14 minutes, a late substitution thrown into a fire drill.
“When you’re losing, the first thing you think is let’s go forward and let’s try to score,” Fagundez said. “So going in, in the 81st minute, I’m thinking, ‘We need to score.’ I just gave it all I had. I don’t know where Fernando was actually going, but we scored, so that’s all that mattered.”
When he saw Sene get tangled up with his defender, Fagundez knew he’d have to make the play.
“He was trying to go for the header and got fouled, of course, so I just followed through behind him and it was there,” Fagundez said.
Fagundez headed in the goal that delivered a 2-2 tie, his first tally of the season giving the Revolution back-to-back buzzer-beaters.
“We’re lucky we scored,” said Sene.
The Revolution, who have only lost once at home this season, are now 5-7-4 overall, still looking for a way to come away with wins, but refusing to give away games on their home field.
Still, knowing how much victories matter in Major League Soccer, it’s frustrating for coach Jay Heaps knowing that his team is 1-1-4 in its last six games, when so many of them were winnable.
“I think it shows you a good resolve, it shows that we have that instinct to say, ‘Not today, we’re going to fight to the end,’ ” Heaps said. “Unfortunately, the two games [Toronto and Seattle] are almost mirror images of each other.
“To give up two unanswered goals on two headers, it makes me upset, because we work on those things and it’s not anything other than owning up to it, owning that coming in you have to do better on it.”
One of Heaps’s priorities during the week was getting Sene more involved, so he made a tactical change, sending Sene wide.
Sene scored his team-high eighth goal of the season in the 12th minute, tapping one in after Blake Brettschneider split two defenders with a sliding pass in the box and sneaked the ball by diving goalkeeper Andrew Weber.
But what irked Heaps was seeing Sene blast one over the crossbar in the sixth minute, then Clyde Simms do the same four minutes later.
“I thought we could have had two or three goals in the first couple minutes,” Heaps said. “[Sene] hits that in practice all day long. He got the goal, but we wanted more from him and he was in a good spot to capitalize.”
Before the Revolution knew it, they were in a hole.
In the 23d minute, Mauro Rosales took advantage of a Flo Lechner turnover, sending a cross into the box for Johnson, who was camped out in front. Matt Reis’s momentum was taking him to his left, so when Johnson headed it right, Reis had no chance.
Thirteen minutes later, Johnson leaped over defender A.J. Soares to get his head on a Marc Burch cross and score from 5 yards.
“We made two mistakes and they scored two goals, and the rest of the game was spent trying to get back in it,” Heaps said.
The Sounders came in 0-4-3 in their last seven games, allowing opponents to strike first in each. They put themselves in a hole again, but had no trouble getting out of it, despite playing without leading scorer Fredy Montero (red-card suspension).
This was the first time in the last four games the Sounders weren’t issued a red, although Andy Rose, Osvaldo Alonso, and Leo Gonzalez were all shown yellow. They were called for 12 more fouls than the Revolution (20-8), a number that got under the skin of coach Sigi Schmid.
“We’ve got to take some positives from it,” he said. “We would have been much happier if we would have gotten a win, and some much better refereeing.”
Heaps left frustrated for different reasons, his team stuck trying to figure out how to turn close games into wins.
“As the game went on, we made the exact same mistakes we made in Toronto, and believe me we worked on that all week, so that’s more frustrating,” he said. “We certainly should have had more in this game.”