NEW YORK — Coach Brad Friedel’s lineup changes paid off as the Revolution took a 1-0 victory over New York City FC Wednesday night, snapping a nine-game winless streak.
Brian Wright scored his first goal in his initial MLS start as the Revolution became the first team to defeat NYC at Yankee Stadium this season. Wright, a former University of Vermont star, converted in the 71st minute as a Revolution second-half rally was sparked by subs Juan Agudelo, Isaac Angking, and Diego Fagundez.
“Brian’s probably our best out-and-out finisher, once Krisztian Nemeth left [in a transfer to Sporting Kansas City],” Friedel said. “Teal Bunbury’s been doing well, so it was difficult for Brian to get minutes.”
NYC, now 10-1-3 at home, dominated early. NYC nearly scored on a deflected David Villa shot (sixth minute); point-blank attempts by Valentin Castellanos (ninth) and Alexander Ring (17th), who both went in alone on Brad Knighton; an Alexander Callens header off a corner (21st); and a Callens bicycle kick off a corner (24th).
Villa’s attempt appeared to glance off Jalil Anibaba’s hand, then was redirected off the bar by Michael Mancienne.
The Revolution produced little offense in the first half, but long balls from Knighton, starting in place of Matt Turner in goal, created chances. Wright, replacing leading scorer Bunbury (leg injury), settled a poor clearance and drove a shot off the inside of the left post (25th). Wright also had a finish past Sean Johnson ruled offside (58th).
The Revolution substitutions soon started changing the dynamic, Agudelo providing possession, Fagundez driving through the center in setting up the scoring sequence, Angking adding composure to the midfield.
Wright left-footed a rebound of a Cristian Penilla rebound, breaking through just before being replaced by Angking, making his professional debut.
“He hasn’t started, and he came off due to cramps,” Friedel said. “We had already decided to make the substitution, so it was good timing that he got his last touch.”
Angking nearly upped the lead, left-footing a Penilla rebound off the left post (79th). Angking, 18, who recently graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in Providence, is set to join the US U-19 team for games in Bradenton, Fla., but will return for the Revolution’s visit to Los Angeles FC on Saturday, Sept. 15.
“I mean, I didn’t really expect it,” Angking said of replacing Wright. “We got a good W, that’s all that matters. It was one of the best days of my life. I did grow up as a Revs fan. I couldn’t believe I actually got to do this. As a kid I’ve been dreaming of this.”
Wright also has been a Revolution follower since his days playing in Vermont.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, to be honest, knowing it was the game-winner,” Wright said. “It was good to step into the role Teal’s been doing all season, good to show we have some depth on this team.
“We hadn’t won a game in almost two months, so the fact we’re still in it is unbelievable. They say teams in MLS that do well in the playoffs are the teams that catch fire toward the end, so we hope to keep this momentum on the road.”
The Revolution, who were winless (0-6-3) since June 30 and 0-6-4 in away games since March 31, pulled within 3 points of Montreal for the final Eastern Conference playoff place.
“We’ve played far better in this run, not getting wins and then lost the games or tied the games,” Friedel said. “The first half we were fortunate to be nil-nil at halftime, though we did hit the post, as well. But I think they were the better team. Saying that, we defended balls into the box very, very well, seeing how the field’s only 68 yards wide.
“Renewed confidence, I would say. If we beat LA FC next, we’ve got some momentum going.
“From the first day we started, every training session — we’re not going to give up. We still have the game in hand over Montreal and we play them; in that regard, destiny is in our own hands.
“With regards to D.C. United, we need one more team to do us a favor, maybe NYC, then everything will be in our hands. We’ve got Toronto to play yet, Orlando, Chicago — so there’s a lot of big games to come.”