FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- In sense, it wasn't the Philadelphia Union who sealed the fate of the New England Revolution on Saturday. Rather, it was the Revolution who wrote their own obituary.
Despite creating a number of chances in the first half and stringing together 112 more passes than the Union, mistakes and missed opportunities forced the Revolution to stomach a 3-1 loss in front of their own supporters.
"I thought we should've taken our chances in the first 15 minutes," Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. "I thought there were probably two chances we could've finished, and then I thought we were second-best, quite frankly. The bad goal was the final straw of that first half."
Both sides entered the match optimistic that their Open Cup success would spill into league action, which resumed this week following a two-week break due to the World Cup. And initially, all signs pointed to the Revolution as the team with the best chance at building on their recent success in the historic tournament.
Only 10 minutes into the match, the Revolution put together a scintillating display started by Diego Fagundez, who played it through for Patrick Mullins inside the area. Zac MacMath raced over to push away the rookie striker's shot before the rebound fell to Teal Bunbury. But Bunbury couldn't steer his effort by MacMath, who finally exhaled after Fagundez whiffed on another rebound.
"I think we had chances to score goals," Heaps said. "I think that one of the first chances with Patrick Mullins getting a good shot on frame, wasn't all of it though, it was OK. And then Teal had a shot that was blocked and then Diego missed and three of our best finishers all had cracks at a shot that I would've liked to see one of them put their foot on it."
But even when the Revolution were able to put a foot on it, their finishing -- or lack thereof -- continued to haunt them.
Ten minutes after a trio of chances went begging in front of the net, Lee Nguyen put a ball right ahead of Fagundez, who raced into the final third with only MacMath to beat. That task, however, proved to be too difficult. Fagundez attempted to chip it over the Union keeper, but instead the shot fell right into MacMath's arms.
In the 35th minute, an opportunity fell to Nguyen on a free kick from about 30 yards. The dynamic midfielder sent a curling ball over the wall, but suffered the same fate as Fagundez's shot 15 minutes earlier as MacMath easily collected it.
"We were just missing that little bit of sharpness right now that's the difference between winning and losing games," Chris Tierney said. "It's that final ball, it's near misses that were going in for us when we had our good run of games earlier on, and they don't seem to now."
Although the Revolution may have been undermined by finishing woes in the final third, it was a dreadful mistake in the shadow of their own net that, ultimately, proved to be their undoing.
With halftime approaching, and the promise that the error of their ways could be addressed and corrected at the break, Jose Goncalves sent a lazy back pass toward Brad Knighton deep in his own end. But the ball never made it to Knighton, as Sebastien Le Toux cut through and put it into the back of the net in the 42nd minute.
"It's very frustrating," Goncalves said of Le Toux's goal. "Especially when we are playing well, moving the ball (and) creating chances. To give up a goal, it's always difficult to accept, but we have to react very fast and that's what we did in the second half."
The Revolution renewed their efforts in the 52nd minute on a sequence that saw Andrew Farrell send one into the area for Bunbury, who scuffed his shot wide of the near post.
As wasteful as the Revolution were with their chances, the Union cashed in on two of their own in the second half. Danny Cruz blasted one from outside the area in the 69th minute, and while Saer Sene brought one back for the Revolution in the 73rd minute, Le Toux extinguished any hope at a comeback with his second strike of the night in the 78th minute.
All in all, it was a night to forget for the local XI, who could only wonder what might have been had they capitalized on any of the chances they threw in the wastebasket on Saturday.
"We dug ourselves a hole by conceding, and then we got to chase the game and got away from original game plan," Tierney said, "and didn't make the adjustments we need to and just not good enough all around."