FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution put on a dazzling performance Sunday night at Gillette Stadium, defeating the Philadelphia Union, 5-1.
In the 50th minute, Union midfielder Danny Cruz’s goal evened the game at 1-1, after Revolution midfielder Kelyn Rowe’s 25-yard strike in the 26th minute put the home team up.
But four Revolution goals in a 15-minute span ended any hope the Union (10-8-8, 38 points) had of taking a positive result back to Philadelphia.
To start the scoring, Rowe found space in front of the Philadelphia defense. After Chad Barrett hit a pass in his direction, Rowe let the ball run across his body before scorching his shot into the bottom-left corner with his right foot.
“[Philadelphia’s defense] had been dropping a lot,” Rowe said. “I just thought I’d hit it on goal, and luckily it just went in the far post.”
Rowe celebrated the same way as he had last weekend — by pretending to row a boat along the advertisement boards — but there was a difference this time.
“We planned it so I wasn’t just alone with myself,” Rowe said. “We hopped in, all got in the boat and rode away to victory, I guess.”
With the win, New England (10-9-6, 36 points) moves into fifth place in MLS’ Eastern Conference, the final playoff spot.
Despite being in fifth, the Revolution are just 5 points back of the first-place Montreal Impact after winning their last two at home — something that coach Jay Heaps knows the importance of.
“We need points,” said Heaps. “We need to continue to try and get points at home, and right the record at home. We felt like we’ve let games slip away here, and we need to right that ship.”
There were no more goals before halftime, although Revolution forward Juan Agudelo almost found the net. Midfielder Diego Fagundez squared a pass to Agudelo, who side-footed the ball wide right of the open net from 7 yards out.
The Revolution didn’t wait long to respond after Cruz scored, a reaction that Heaps has wanted to see from his team.
“I thought we came out flat at half, and I hate that, I’m really disappointed in that. But I’m proud of the way the guys reacted,” Heaps said.
“We were able to use the players who had the energy on the field to change it, and I like that, and I thought that we reacted well.”
The go-ahead score — an own goal — was scored in the 58th minute by Union defender Amobi Okugo. Fagundez started the attacking move and slipped a ball out right to Agudelo, who hit a shot toward the goal. Okugo, in an attempt to block the shot, slid across and knocked the ball in his own net.
The Revolution wanted insurance with the 2-1 lead, and Rowe provided it. He hit a 30-yard strike into the top-right corner, bagging his second goal of the game in the 65th minute.
In the 71st minute, the Union were on the attack when holding midfielder Scott Caldwell picked up the ball and fired a 30-yard pass, slicing the Union defense apart.
Fagundez was on the end of the pass and after taking on a defender, cut in and shot the ball into the bottom left corner. It was the 18-year-old’s team-leading eighth goal of the season, and the Revolution’s third goal in 13 minutes.
But they weren’t done yet.
Agudelo’s hold-up play, use of speed, and creativity troubled the Union defense all night. It took him until the 73d minute to find the net.
Fagundez cut inside from the left flank and then side-footed a pass that split two defenders. It left Agudelo one-on-one with Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath, and Agudelo buried the shot into the roof of the net from close range.
Agudelo’s goal capped a 15-minute, four-goal spree that sent Revolution fans home happy after seeing a five-star performance.
It was the second time this season the Revolution have scored five times, netting the same number against the Los Angeles Galaxy on June 2.