When Saer Sene suffered a gruesome left leg injury in the 18th minute, the Revolution had two choices: they could allow it to distract them, or they could rally around their fallen teammate.
Less than 10 minutes after Sene, who suffered the injury on a tough tackle from Davy Arnaud, was taken off the pitch on a stretcher, the Revolution made their choice clear when Jose Goncalves scored en route a critical 1-0 win over the Impact.
“You run into situations on the field that take the better of the game,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told the media after the game. “So everyone’s heart went out to what happened to Saer. It’s a devastating play to be a part of for both teams, and the response from our guys coming together and making plays and almost getting a goal almost 10 minutes after was amazing.”
While Sene was taken to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with a dislocated left ankle and a fractured left fibula, the Revolution had to remain focused on the task at hand at Stade Saputo. After all, anything less than three points would all but force them to wave their postseason ambitions goodbye.
To that end, the Revolution went ahead in search of the opening salvo, and found it in the 31st minute. Diego Fagundez grabbed a pass from A.J. Soares, and sent it on the doorstep for Juan Agudelo. But instead of taking an awkward shot, Agudelo redirected it for Goncalves, who blasted it past Troy Perkins.
“The ball was still in the box and we had an advantage over the Montreal players,” Goncalves told the media after the game. “Diego crossed it and Juan was there and they missed the ball and I was right behind them. I had a great chance, so it was not an option to miss it.”
It was fitting that Goncalves, the captain, scribbled his name on the scoresheet. While some teams would have let an injury like Sene’s deflate them, the Portuguese center back helped ensure that his teammates’ focus never waned.
“Jose led us like a captain,” Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis told the media after the game. “He scored a goal and did everything at the end to see the game out.”
While Goncalves’ goal gave his club the upper hand just after the half hour mark, there was still plenty of soccer to be played. And that’s where Goncalves and his defensive teammates rolled up their sleeves to ensure the scoreboard would stay in their favor.
Between the 57th and 61st minutes, Impact coach Marco Schällibaum used all three of his substitutes in the hopes finding an equalizer. But those hopes were never realized, as the Revolution backline withstood Montreal’s advances, and limited their opponent to only one shot on goal all afternoon.
Granted, Saturday’s performance may not have been enough to keep the Revolution in the fifth and final postseason berth before the end of the day, as Chicago and Philadelphia both got results Saturday night. Nevertheless, Heaps certainly liked what he saw from his players in a must-win game on the road.
“I’m really proud of our guys because we came to a very tough place to play and we had a tough schedule,” Heaps said. “Our guys came out with the right mentality (and) although in the second half we made some mistakes, we quickly recuperated.”