FOXBOROUGH — The bus carrying the Los Angeles Galaxy to Gillette Stadium on Sunday got stuck in Boston’s famously fickle traffic. The way they were subsequently manhandled by the Revolution, the Galaxy would have been much better off leaving the team hotel and heading straight for the airport.
Diego Fagundez scored a goal in his fourth consecutive game, Saer Sene started the onslaught with a goal in his first start of the season, and the Revolution put on a second-half clinic against the two-time defending Major League Soccer champions, beating the Galaxy, 5-0, and delighting a season-high home crowd of 19,120.
The victory extended New England’s MLS shutout streak to three games — all wins — and the five-goal victory margin equals the franchise best, last accomplished in a 6-1 win over Colorado in 2004. The loss matched the worst in franchise history for the Galaxy, who also lost a 5-0 game in 2002.
Statement game? Well, yeah.
“It feels great. We’re on a winning streak right now, and everyone in this locker room wanted it more than they did,” said Fagundez, who assisted on Sene’s first-half goal before getting one of his own — his fifth of the season — in the 87th minute.
Lee Nguyen scored a disputed goal in the 71st minute to make it 2-0, when Fagundez hurriedly put the ball in play after LA’s plea for possession (buoyed by a linesman’s flag, which signaled LA’s way) was nullified by referee Fotis Bazakos. Seconds later, with Galaxy players and coaches still complaining, Nguyen easily flicked the ball past goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini to double the Revolution lead.
Garbage time turned into party time for the hosts, with Fagundez scoring late after a dazzling dribbling display, making him the first Revolution player since Clint Dempsey (2005) to score goals in four straight games. Chad Barrett and Kelyn Rowe added goals in stoppage time.
Rowe assisted on the goals by Fagundez and Barrett before capping off the unexpected laugher with a blistering shot off a feed from Barrett for his first of the season.
“The game opened up after the 50th, 60th minute,” said Rowe. “They got a little discouraged, we kept pressing on, and we have players who are going to make runs in the box, we have players who are going to finish balls, and you saw that at the end of the game.”
Statement game? Well, despite every indication, not so fast.
“We don’t have time to really analyze how big a statement . . . you know, there’s no statement,” coach Jay Heaps said. “It’s just a game, and we had to take it, and we had to prepare ourselves. I thought we did a good job doing that.
“It’s 3 points. For us, we’re still in the middle of the pack, trying to fight, every game is a grind for us. We wanted to get 3 points at home.”
The start was delayed more than 20 minutes because the Galaxy (6-5-2) were late getting to the stadium. Stalled in traffic as it inched toward Foxborough, the Galaxy bus rolled in just after 4 p.m., with the nationally televised start scheduled for 4:30. Ample warm-up time was granted.
The match kicked off at 4:53, and most of the early scoring opportunities belonged to the visitors. Gyasi Zardes pushed hard with the ball from the right side in the second minute, his shot missing right and hitting the side of the net. In the ninth minute, Juninho sent a hard shot at the Revolution net, with goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth punching it high over the goal, one of three first-half saves he was forced to make. He finished the game with six stops.
New England (5-4-4) had its chances, too. In addition to Sene’s goal, Chris Tierney was involved in two early plays in which the Revolution threatened. In the fifth minute he sent a cross that went through the goal box, with neither Juan Agudelo nor Jose Goncalves able to get their boot on it. Off a corner kick in the 15th minute, Tierney headed a ball toward Steve McCarthy, whose own header missed just left.
Sene created another scoring chance two minutes after his goal, zipping a cross through the box from the left side that Fagundez and Agudelo couldn’t reach.
Sene had been slowly worked back into the lineup, appearing in seven of New England’s first 12 games as a second-half substitute while he recovered from knee surgery (he tore his anterior cruciate ligament last August). Sene started in Tuesday’s US Open Cup win at Rochester, playing 45 minutes.
Sunday marked his first MLS start of the season, and he was on for 65 superb minutes, putting his team on the board and joining a pair of dangerous forwards in Fagundez and Agudelo that appear to be finding their offensive stride.
Funny what improving health, developing chemistry, and a mountain of momentum can produce. Just ask the LA Galaxy.