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Revolution 3, New York City FC 0

Revolution dispatch New York City FC

Revolution head coach Bruce Arena makes a point on the sidelines at Gillette Stadium.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution would have preferred to have New York City FC’s number when they were eliminated in the postseason last year. But the Revolution will settle for gaining revenge, and also improving their playoff chances, with a 3-0 win over NYCFC Sunday night.

Defender Jon Bell scored his first goal of the season and Noel Buck became the second youngest scorer in the team’s 27-year history as the Revolution took a 2-0 halftime lead, then finished things off on a Tommy McNamara score.

The Revolution (9-9-11, 38 points), who visit the New York Red Bulls Saturday, moved into a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with five games remaining. NYCFC (13-10-6, 45 points), which defeated the Revolution penalty kicks in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals, remained in fourth place.

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Bell finished a McNamara cross that bounced off defender Maxime Chanot, poking in a point-blank shot for his second career goal. Bell moved into position to score following a Matt Polster shot knocked away for a corner. The sequence continued as Gustavo Bou found McNamara near the end line on the right, McNamara floating a cross near the penalty spot.

Buck, 17, a year older than Diego Fagundez when he converted in his Revolution debut in 2011, upped the lead with a left-footer (33rd). The shot was set up as Lucas Maciel took possession after Carles Gil was challenged by Maxi Moralez just outside the penalty area, Buck quickly finishing into the right side of the net.

McNamara converted his third goal of the season (66th), finishing from the top of the penalty area off a low cross from DeJuan Jones.

Djordje Petrovic stopped NYCFC’s best chances, saving point-blank attempts by Santi Rodriguez (13th) and Andres Jasson (53rd) and tipping a Talles Magno try over the bar (85th) as the Revolution snapped a four-game winless streak.

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Observations from Sunday’s game:

▪ Defining Moment: Petrovic’s stop on Rodriguez preserved the advantage seconds after the opening goal. The Revolution’s fatal flaw this season has been surrendering leads, but they seem to have reversed that trend. The last time the Revolution gave up the lead was in a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union on July 16 — they have compiled a 3-2-4 record since then.

▪ Difference-maker: Gil did not receive credit for assists, but he helped set up the opening two goals. Before the first score, Gil combined with Bell as Polster’s shot went for a corner; he then sent the corner kick to Bou, starting the goal-scoring sequence. On the second goal, Gil nearly lost possession to Moralez, before Maciel fed Buck. Gil was able to match NYCFC’s technical midfield, which was missing Alfredo Morales (injured), a key to the Cityzens’ MLS Cup run last year.

▪ Tactical analysis: Bell, normally a central defender, started in place of Brandon Bye (injured). Bell gave Revolution a left-foot threat at left back, moving DeJuan Jones to the right, where he seemed more effective than on the left. Playing as a lone striker, Bou had difficulty finding space against NYCFC’s back line, but he drew defenders and combined well with Gil. Unlike most teams that visit the Revolution at Gillette Stadium, NYCFC went on the offensive from the start, displaying an impressive possession game. But the Cityzens were missing finishers such as Valentin Castellanos (Girona FC) and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (now with the Revolution), who led the way up front until recently.

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▪ Statistical analysis: In the last nine games, only one Revolution forward (Rennicks) has scored. This time the goals were converted by a defender and two midfielders. But the Revolution will need to have Bou back on track to make a playoff run.

Petrovic earned his seventh shutout, extending his shutout streak to 225 minutes, helped by Andrew Farrell and Henry Kessler, who made successive blocks in the penalty area (27th minute).

▪ Road ahead: After visiting the Red Bulls, the Revolution will go directly to Houston for a game against the Dynamo on Tuesday, then return home to meet CF Montreal and Atlanta United. In those four games, they will likely need at least two victories to be in contention for a playoff berth in the season-ending visit to the Chicago Fire Oct. 9.

▪ What they said: “We’ve probably played better in the last two games and could’ve won both,” Revolution sporting director/head coach Bruce Arena said. “We’ve played better in 10 games this year than this one but we got 3 points. It’s nice to get a break once in a while. It’s just been such a crappy year, odd results. You get 3 points on the night when you’re not at your best, you’ve got to feel good about that. If we get our team health in October, we’ll be pretty good. We have not been healthy the whole year.”

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Frank Dell'Apa can be reached at frankdellapa@gmail.com.