Graphic by David Jakacky

On Nov. 23, 2014, the New England Revolution took on the French football legend Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls in the first leg of the Eastern conference finals. The two game series was a slugfest between two of the league’s most bitter rivals. Thanks in part to a last second game-winning-goal from Jermaine Jones, the Revolution were able to take a 2-1 aggregate advantage into the second leg en route to their first MLS Cup Final appearance since 2007. Even though the game was in New York, 1,200 Revolution fans traveled from all over New England to watch the game.

Early on in the game, the two teams looked evenly matched, as they had all year. Jones got the first chance of the game from a long free-kick sent in by left-back Chris Tierney, connecting with his head and sending Red Bull goalie Luis Robles into a sudden diving save from inside the box.

In an absolute highlight reel finish, Revolution forward Teal Bunbury danced past New York’s Ambroise Oyongo before curling a picture-perfect strike into the top corner behind Robles, putting the Revolution up 1-0 less than 20 minutes into the contest. About ten minutes later, the Red Bulls found their answer. 

Sloppy defensive work allowed Peguy Luyindula to sneak in behind the Revolution defensive line where his first shot was saved before rattling a second from the ground off the crossbar. The ensuing rebound bounced over the head of Revolution captain Jose Goncalves and was subsequently put home off the head of Bradley Wright-Phillips, tying the score at 1-1. 

Wright-Phillips nearly helped the Red Bulls take the lead just before half-time when his headed effort off of Henry’s cross just barely flew over the top of the bar. Lloyd Sam, the Red Bulls’ forward, was given a golden opportunity to take the advantage when Shuttleworth bobbled a shot from Henry, leaving Sam open with a wide-open goalmouth to shoot at. However, the shot missed the opening and glanced off the outside of the netting.

Shuttleworth continued to be a wall for the Revolution, stymying Wright-Phillips on a clear-cut chance at the edge of the 18’ with about a half hour left to play. Ten minutes after the fact, the Revolution came across their best chance of the contest with an inswinging ball glancing off of Robles and to the head of Jones only feet in front of the goal. The chance ended up directing itself just over the bar.

With another ten minutes passing, the Revolution finally broke through in the eighty-fourth minute. Driving up the field, Lee Nguyen and Bunbury broke down the Red Bulls defensive line with picture-perfect passing, setting up Jones for an easy tap-in just before the goal line to give the Revolution the lead again. This goal would be the game winner for the Revolution.