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Revs step up to hand first loss to Red Bulls

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- If the Revolution were going to knock the lone unbeaten team flat on their back Saturday, they knew that a strong start was going to be key -- especially with that squad entering the match on short rest.

Although the Red Bulls, who were playing their third game in eight days, fielded a fresher lineup than Revolution coach Jay Heaps expected, he stuck to the script. As a result, he watched his club turn early fireworks into a 2-1 win, sending their opponent into the loss column for the first time this season.

"Our game plan was to stay the same in the first 20 minutes," Heaps said. "We wanted to pin them in and try to get them back there and test their backline and I thought we did that."

Much like their performance against Real Salt Lake a week ago, the Revolution came out pressing early, hoping to get the jump on their adversary. But unlike that match, they didn't have to wait long to find the back of the net.

Inside of nine minutes, London Woodberry launched a cross into the box for Charlie Davies, who came toward it, then nodded it into the back of the net to put the Red Bulls into an early ditch.

"I was a little late," Davies said. "But I knew that if I checked back, (Red Bulls center back Matt Miazga) would've thought I was going back post, (but) I came back across, and London played a great ball and I just wanted to make the most of that chance."

Davies might have made the most of that chance, but not long after, the Revolution's form started to go stale. Chances were there for the taking but following up on the first goal proved to be difficult.

After Juan Agudelo tackled the ball away from Karl Ouimette, he fed it to Davies, who raced into the box intent to get a second one. But the Revolution striker took one touch too many before Miazga closed in to clear it away.

That sequence was the closest the Revolution came to seizing the match before halftime. While the hosts managed to head into halftime with the lead, they rued the chances they missed.

"I think once we went up a goal, we didn't play so well," Davies said. "We made it difficult on ourselves."

Heaps sensed the need for changes in the second half. He needed to see more from his team, which had essentially left the door open for the Red Bulls, who started to threaten late in the first half.

"We made a little tactical change in that we felt that Scotty (Caldwell) and (Andy) Dorman were sitting on top of the back four a little too much," Heaps said, "and really playing Charlie and Teal high and the rest of the seven guys were defending, and that wasn't helping us at all. So we switched that, and in the second half, we were a little bit better."

The 56th minute introduction of Lee Nguyen, who was on the bench after missing training earlier in the week because of what Heaps called "private matters," was another boost for the Revolution.

Four minutes after he stepped onto the pitch, he collected a ball from Caldwell, went into the box, and pushed it wide for Bunbury to run onto and send it through to make it a two-goal game.

"The buildup was unbelievable," Bunbury said. "I'm just trying to stay wide and keep that space open, and Lee was able to slip a great ball to me and I wanted to take it first touch, and just put it in the back of the net."

But the Red Bulls refused to go down without a fight. Immediately after Bunbury's strike, Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch brought on his two best scorers -- Bradley Wright-Phillips and Lloyd Sam. And not surprisingly, Marsch watched his squad punch back.

Mike Grella headed a ball forward for a loosely-marked Sacha Kljestan, who ran into the box and beat Bobby Shuttleworth to cut the deficit in the 73rd minute.

With the Red Bulls pressing to level it, the Revolution held on tight in the final 10 minutes. Wright-Phillips sent a header over the bar and Felipe Martins forced Shuttleworth to make a diving save, but the hosts were able to escape with the victory.

"We didn't play our best, and we were still able to win against a great team," Davies said. "So you have to look at those things as huge positives."