The New England Revolution, forced to play short-handed for 87 of 90 minutes of regulation time, booted away a 2-0 lead to the Colorado Rapids, who scored twice in the final 15 minutes to send the game to a shootout.
Once New England got back on level terms in the extra session, they won the shootout, 1-0, to earn a 3-2 victory Saturday night before a crowd of 14,323 at Foxboro Stadium.Chilean Victor Mella, claimed on waivers Friday from the San Jose Clash, scored the only goal of the shootout, beating Rapids goalkeeper Dusty Hudock on the Revolution's third attempt.
New England reserve goalkeeper Jim St. Andre, who came on in the third minute, stopped three shots in the shootout and watched two others sail wide to earn the victory.
The Revolution earned one point for the shootout win, improving to 4-3 and remaining in third place in the Eastern Conference. Colorado drops to 3-5.
Things looked bad for the Revolution when starting goalkeeper Aidan Heaney was ejected for an intentional handball outside the box at 3:07. St. Andre replaced Heaney, but New England was forced to pull off one its field players (striker Rob Ukrop) and play short-handed for the remainder of the game.
With three acrobatic stops, St. Andre kept the Revolution in the game during a first half dominated by the Rapids.
With New England facing a difficult climb, midfield general Alberto Naveda made things look easy when his spectacular 60-yard shot beat Hudock for a 1-0 lead at 47:30.
Naveda spotted Hudock off of his line and let a shot fly from the center stripe. Hudock leaped and got his left hand on the ball, but could not keep it out of the net.
Naveda, selected to Major League Soccer's weekly all-star team, helped set up the Revolution's second goal. He hit the ball wide to Paul Keegan, who brought it back through the middle and sent a through-ball to Welton. Hudock brought down Welton and referee Ed Resendes awarded the penalty.
Acting captain Geoff Aunger netted his third penalty shot in as many tries to put New England ahead 2-0 at 69 minutes.
The game turned Colorado's way, with the under-manned Revolution visibly tiring.
St. Andre kept out a booming 20-yard shot from Dominic Kinnear by punching it over the crossbar at 74:30.
The Rapids maintained the pressure and scored a minute later off of a right corner kick started by South African international Shaun Bartlett. Bartlett's corner went to Scott Benedetti at the far left post. Benedetti headed it on to former U.S. national team member Roy Wegerle, who volleyed it past St. Andre at 75:39.
St. Andre stopped a dangerous Steve Trittschuh header at 80:40.
He needed help 40 seconds later when Bartlett picked off an errant pass by Aunger for a partial breakaway. Bartlett dribbled around St. Andre and lined up his shot, only to have it headed off of the line by Ted Chronopoulos.
Colorado finally tied the game 2-2 with 2:40 remaining in regulation.