Erasing a 1-0 halftime deficit, the New England Revolution poured on three goals after the intermission to overtake the New York Red Bulls at the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson. The comeback victory gave the Revolution their first victory of the season and vaulted them over the Red Bulls in race to claim the second championship slot opposite the Seattle Sounders.
New York opened the scoring in the 11th minute thanks to new Brazilian acquisition Juninho. The attacking midfielder found the ball at his feet after a Red Bulls cross was deflected into his path by Thierry Henry. Juninho, the former Lyon and Vasco Da Gama star, showed his veteran resolve as he blasted the ball past New England goalkeeper Matt Reis to give his side the early advantage.
The Red Bulls continued to look like the better side throughout the rest of the first half. Juninho nearly potted a second in the 26th minute, striking Tim Cahill’s service just wide of the left post. Fabian Espindola had another opportunity off a corner kick about a half hour into the match, but the header attempt was fended off by the Revolution. After a frenzied half, New England was lucky to enter the locker room down just 1-0.
Eight minutes into the second half, the Revolution had an equalizer after Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave handled the shot by unsigned 2013 MLS SuperDraft selection Donnie Smith. Lee Nguyen stepped up, converting the spot kick past Luis Robles to level the scoreline at 1-1. Five minutes later New England would take the lead for good, as Smith played a cross in to Honduran international Jerry Bengston. With a flick of his head the striker touched the ball behind Robles into the net, and the momentum was surging the way of the Revolution.
Two minutes from the final whistle, Juan Toja found Bengston’s 64th-minute replacement Marko Jesic streaking in on the right side of the box. The Australian, a trialist from the A-League’s Newcastle Jets, drove on goal and rolled the ball under substitute goalkeeper Ian Joyce for the insurance tally.
With the win New England can advance to the championship match of the Desert Diamond Cup by winning or drawing against Real Salt Lake on Wednesday. The Red Bulls must defeat the Sounders and then hope for a Revolution defeat to set up a championship rematch with Seattle.