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Revolution score twice in 2nd half to top San JoseRevolution score twice in 2nd half to top San JoseRevolution score twice in 2nd half to top San Jose

Aug 30, 2009 - 4:42 AM By NICOLINO DIBENEDETTO STATS Writer

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (STATS) - About a month ago, the New England Revolution appeared to be on the way to missing the playoffs for the first time in eight years. A recent surge, however, has them in the thick of the postseason race.

Midfielders Steve Ralston and Wells Thompson scored second-half goals Saturday night, helping the Revolution beat the last-place San Jose Earthquakes 2-1.

New England (9-6-6) has gone 5-1-1 since a 2-5-4 stretch. The Revs haven't failed to qualify for the playoffs since 2001.

They have turned it around with a series of gritty performances to move into third place in the Eastern Conference, five points back of second-place Chicago with three games in hand.

"When you get to this stage in the season, it's about results," said coach Steve Nicol, who led the Revs into the playoffs in each of his seven previous seasons at the helm. "You don't get any points for playing silky soccer and losing games. You get points for winning at this stage of the year. If we can play well at the same time, then that's fantastic - and we want to.

"We're not going out there every week to kill the game between now and the end of the season. We want to go and play well. But at the end of the day, it's about results."

Ralston keyed New England's victory Saturday, assisting on Thompson's goal in the 74th minute, six minutes after netting one for himself.

Thompson's left-footed shot hit the upper left corner for the second goal of his career and first since he was a rookie in 2007.

"I've been teasing Wells for a couple of weeks that he actually didn't know he was left-footed," said Ralston, who got his 135th assist on the goal to extend his MLS record. "In practice one day, he was hitting great balls with his left, crossing perfect balls. I just don't think he realized - he's (25) years old - that he's been playing his whole career as a right-sided player and he's left-footed."

Ralston's goal, his team-leading seventh, came on a flick over Earthquakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon after midfielder Shalrie Joseph found him streaking into the center of the box with a lofted pass.

The Revs outshot the Earthquakes (5-12-5) 14-10 and won the season series for the first time since 2000. They defeated them 1-0 at San Jose in the season opener March 21.

The Earthquakes got a consolation goal from Ramon Sanchez two minutes into second-half injury time, as the midfielder was left unmarked in the center of the box and got his head on the end of a curling cross from Ramiro Corrales.

"You always have to put your performance on how we did and we lost 2-1, so all-in-all not the best, but average, I guess," forward Chris Wondolowski said. "At times we looked really good and at times we looked a little average. It just (stinks) because I thought it was actually a pretty decent performance over all."

San Jose is last in the West and all but eliminated from playoff contention.