FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — With a slight dive to his right, Nick Rimando made a critical stop to preserve RSL's 2-1 win over the New England Revolution on Wednesday night.
The Revolution (2-4-3) earned a penalty kick in the 91st minute when Carlos Salcedo picked up his second yellow card of the game with a hand ball inside the box.
No problem. Rimando said his defenders started chattering at the Revolution players, getting in their ears to distract them. Then New England's Saer Sene kicked a soft liner low and left. That's easy prey for the all-time league leader in penalty kick saves.
"I got a little help from Sene there," Rimando said.
Did Sene telegraph his shot?
"A little bit. … It almost felt like I overdove. I was worried that I'd gone too far. Luckily, it hit my legs and Kyle (Beckerman) did a great job kicking it out of there."
Rimando's effort saved not only a win for RSL (5-4-2), but a bit of momentum. For the first time this year, RSL has back-to-back wins.
It couldn't come under much tougher conditions. Alvaro Saborio and Robbie Findley were both out with injuries. It was the start of a two-game road trip. And New England is an excellent defensive team. The Revolution stymied RSL's offense for more than 75 minutes and led 1-0 late in the second half.
"It's going to be difficult to find yourself with time and space in front of the goal," Kreis said. "I think this could be a big win for us."
It was certainly a confidence-booster for a young lineup. With RSL trailing 1-0 in the 77th minute, a Velasquez shot landed at the feet of Devon Sandoval. Sandoval punched it into the back of the net to tie the game.
Not bad for a guy who can't remember the last time he scored.
"Uh, I think it was a couple of months ago in a reserve game against Colorado," Sandoval said. "It's been a minute."
Twelve minutes later, in the 89th minute, Olmes Garcia, a 20-year-old, gave RSL the lead. Beckerman set the goal up with a beautiful volley out of a Javier Morales corner kick that caromed straight back off New England goalie Bobby Shuttleworth, landing in front of Garcia who was able to get a lunging one-touch shot off around his defender to give RSL a 2-1 advantage.
Garcia and Sandoval, who is 21 years old, have played 14 MLS games and have a combined three goals. They weren't the only rookies making an impact.
Salcedo, who is 19 years old, had just three minutes of playing time before Wednesday, and that was at the end of Saturday's 2-0 win over Vancouver. Salcedo only got to play Wednesday because defender Kwame Watson-Siriboe stayed in Utah with his family after the birth of his first child, a boy.
Then Nat Borchers got sick, leaving Kreis with little choice. But Kreis indicated he liked Salcedo's physical style of play against the Revolution enough to bring him back for Saturday's tilt with Montreal.
Salcedo's high-kicking style made an impact late in the first half — literally. At the 34-minute mark, Salcedo went after a ball just outside of the RSL penalty box with a high roundhouse kick. His leg ran into the upper chest of a Revolution player, knocking both players to the ground. Salcedo earned a yellow card on the play.
In the 91st minute, Salcedo was given a yellow card for a play inside the penalty box. RSL officials said it was a case of mistaken identity — the official gave the yellow card to the wrong player — and the team would appeal Salcedo's second yellow card. An MLS referee refused to answer questions about the yellow card after the game.2 comments on this story
Regardless, Kreis liked what he saw from the young defender. He doesn't want to do anything to mellow out Salcedo's reckless abandon.
"In fact, I'd like more of our guys to play like that," Kreis said. "We need more of that from our center backs."
Salcedo smiled when told Kreis complimented his play. The coach made a point to talk to him after the game.
"He says to just keep going because our players need to stand up for themselves," Salcedo said.
RSL's young guns certainly stood tall after the game. They can thank Rimando's diving effort for that.