FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Femi Hollinger-Janzen didn't see his game-winning goal settle into the back of the Seattle net. But he certainly witnessed -- and heard -- the reaction to it.
Three minutes after entering a level match in the waning stages, the rookie striker from Indiana University found himself in the right place at the right time to send the New England Revolution into the Copa America break on a high note in Saturday's 2-1 win over the Seattle Sounders.
Hollinger-Janzen's 80th minute goal was his second in three games, and it lifted the crowd of 21,456 out of their seats on a warm evening in Norfolk County.
"I saw guys cheering, and then I [realized] it was in," Hollinger-Janzen said. "I'm very happy to get the game-winner there."
The deciding sequence actually came from a less-than-textbook play that initially appeared broken at first blush.
After collecting a quick Chris Tierney pass, Lee Nguyen was rushed off the ball by Tyrone Mears but caught enough of it to steer it to Hollinger-Janzen. The rookie striker was caught flat-footed on the deflected pass and fell to the ground. But he quickly regrouped, and with little pressure on him from defenders Mears and Erik Friberg, fired a low-skipping shot that beat the dive of Stefan Frei.
"I did think the defender would be closing a little faster," Hollinger-Janzen said. "But he didn't, so I had space to hit it."
The fact that Hollinger-Janzen, who entered the game with only 182 minutes of professional experience under his belt, didn't panic and saw the play through may have surprised some. Revolution coach Jay Heaps wasn't one of them.
"I think in his mind, he can score at any moment, because he's a goalscorer," Heaps said. "[Opposing players] are keying in on other guys, and he's able to come in and think to score. That's what you really want from a guy, especially a young player. I think that's a striker's mentality: 'I'm outside the 18; I'm close enough [to score].'"
While Hollinger-Janzen's breakthrough was the highlight of the night for the Revolution, who were only a week removed from a deflating 4-2 home loss to FC Dallas, Heaps said that the 54th minute entrance of Teal Bunbury shifted the momentum in the team's favor.
"We felt like Teal came in and added a great spark," Heaps said. "As the half went on, we wanted one more level of spark, and I really thought Femi brought that."
On a small scale, Hollinger-Janzen's strike gave the Revolution their third home win of the season. But it may prove to be a momentous one in the bigger picture.
Saturday's third win of the season sent the Revolution into the Copa America break on a high note and with reason to believe that the summer may bring better fortune following an inconsistent spring. In fact, the 2-1 victory marked the first time New England was able to prevail after conceding the first goal, which came from an eighth minute Aaron Kovar strike.
But the potential ripple effects appeared to be the furthest thing from Heaps' mind following the match.
"I'm just so excited that he was able to get in there and do what we see every day," Heaps said. "He just brings so much energy."
Energy is one thing. Turning it into tangible results is another, of course. It's a reality that Hollinger-Janzen is well aware of and a concept that he admits he meditates on well before the fourth official's signboard flashes the no. 88.
"Before every game," Hollinger-Janzen said. "I just tell myself I have to get one in there when I get the opportunity, work as hard as I can [and] try and get something good for the team."