(Reuters) - Jermaine Jones grabbed an 85th minute winner as the New England Revolution beat the New York Red Bulls 2-1 in the first leg of Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference final on Sunday.
The pair will meet again on Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts to decide who will meet the Seattle Sounders or the LA Galaxy in the MLS Cup on Dec. 7.
The Galaxy beat Seattle 1-0 in their first-leg at the StubHub Center — Marcelo Sarvas’ 52nd minute goal separating the teams.
The Revolution, who had never previously won at Red Bull Arena, took the lead in the 17th minute when Teal Bunbury cut in from the right flank and superbly curled the ball past New York keeper Luis Robles.
The Red Bulls were back on level terms 10 minutes later with Peguy Luyindula’s shot, at the second attempt, coming out off the bar and Bradley Wright-Phillips heading in his 31st goal of the season.
English striker Wright-Phillips missed a good opportunity just before the break when he could not keep down a header from close range after nice work from Thierry Henry.
But at the close of a fiercely contested second half, Lee Nguyen broke from midfield, fed Bunbury to his right and German-born U.S. international Jones burst from deep to slide the ball in from close range and give New England a potentially vital second away goal.
The Galaxy had keeper Jaime Penedo to thank in a large part for their win over Seattle, the Panamanian pulling off a superb double-save in the 22nd minute to foil Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey from close range.
Penedo showed his worth again in the 50th minute as he kept out another effort from Dempsey after he had been set-up by the lively Martins.
The Galaxy had the lead two minutes later when a shot from the edge of the area by midfielder Marcelo Sarvas deflected off Seattle defender Chad Marshall and beat the wrong-footed Stefan Frei.
Galaxy’s Swedish midfielder Stefan Ishizaki then hit the bar with a curling free-kick and substitute Alan Gordon should have made it 2-0 but he hesitated inside the area and allowed Marshall to make the tackle.
The second leg will be played in Seattle next Sunday.
Reporting By Simon Evans in Miami, editing by Gene Cherry/Greg Stutchbury