Revs fail to capitalize vs. desperate D.C.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Coming off their 5-0 thrashing of the defending champion Galaxy last Sunday, the Revolution had to like their chances going into Saturday's contest against cellar-dwelling D.C. United.
But any momentum they were hoping to carry into it was stopped cold by a determined D.C. club that neutralized the New England attack and created its own fair share of chances in the 0-0 draw.
True, a number of the players from last year's second-place D.C. side were on hand for Saturday's affair. But many of those same players were also responsible for the current team's poor production (six goals), not to mention porous defense (24 goals allowed) this season.
After stumbling out of the gate against the Galaxy last week, the Revolution showed improved form in the middle of the park on Saturday, and looked keen to continue their recent scoring success.
Despite an early scare from the United's Nick DeLeon in the seventh minute, the Revolution found early chances from Lee Nguyen and Saer Sene, both of whom came within striking distance of the opening goal in the early minutes.
While the attack was trying to put together chances, the Revolution back four resumed their recent stinginess, with DeLeon's shot the only one D.C. put on frame all evening.
"I thought that was a good start for us not giving anything away," Revolution head coach Jay Heaps said. "I thought we could have scored, we didn't, but I give them credit."
But as the game progressed, the Revolution found fewer and fewer opportunities to put the ball in the back of the net. Clearly, the D.C. defense wasn't the same one advertised ahead of the contest.
"I think when we had our chances and had that final ball, it just wasn't there, and that's our fault," Heaps said. "I don't think we made enough runs off the ball. From where I'm sitting, I didn't see enough off the ball."
New England's inability to find options inside the attacking third was due in large part to D.C.'s relentless pressure when the likes of Nguyen, Sene and Diego Fagundez had the ball. By canceling out their best attackers, United forced the Revolution to find another way to counter their plucky opponents' game plan.
"I was expecting them to push us," Heaps said. "I thought they did a better job of pressing us on the second ball. When they would lose it, we would make a good two or three passes and they would get to that one. We have to do better at breaking pressure."
Despite their struggles, all hope wasn't lost in the final minutes. After racking up four goals in the second half of last Sunday's win, the Revolution were intent on finding similar success after the interval.
In the 66th minute, Fagundez ran at the D.C. defense and found an opening before firing away on Bill Hamid, who did just enough to tip the shot over the bar. Moments later, Nguyen fed a pass to Tierney, who uncharacteristically incorporated a rare right-footed shot that hit the near post.
"It's definitely a collector's item when I get a shot off on the right," Tierney quipped. "Yeah, people start to overplay the left (foot) so you have to have a little something in the bag."
One last opportunity came in the 88th minute when Nguyen grabbed a pass from Andrew Farrell and tested Hamid, who rose to the challenge once more to give D.C. its first point in league action since May 19.
"We know as well as anyone how tough it can be when you're struggling like they are, and how desperate they were going to be," Tierney said. "We knew (that) and were prepared for the fact that it was going to be a difficult game, and it was."