They got the point, but the win escaped them.
Despite playing a man up for over 30 minutes of the second half, DC United managed just a 1-1 tie with New England.
While it was United’s first point of the season, they are still winless (0-3-1, 1 pt.) and trail the New York Red Bulls (3-0-1) by eight points.
“I think we all can look at ourselves and say that the effort was so much better,” said United first-year coach Tom Soehn. “That alone is something to build off of. I don't know that there’s a sense of relief in the fact that we came out with a tie–I don't think you're ever happy with a tie.”
Soehn made several changes in United’s lineup. Newcomer Nicolas Adderly started in place of benched captain Jaime Moreno, who came on in the second half and calmly converted the match-tying penalty for his 106th career MLS goal.
Soehn also left national team midfielder Brian Carroll on the bench in favor of Clyde Simms, and he used what amounted to a four-man back line, sliding Josh Gros back in a more defensive role and reinserted defender Facundo Erpen to the starting lineup.
All that, and while United played with more energy and determination, they weren’t able to translate it into a win, and fell behind on a defensive lapse in the first minute of the second half.
Former Maryland star Taylor Twellman broke free on United goalkeeper Troy Perkins, and while Perkins was able to save the initial effort, Andy Dorman was able to clean up the rebound into an empty net to give the Revs a 1-0 lead.
United benefitted from some questionable officiating from Terry Vaughn less than five minutes later in getting the equalizer. Revs defender James Riley went shoulder-to-shoulder with the savvy Moreno and nudged him down in the box. Vaughn awarded Moreno a penalty, and the Bolivian converted it to tie the match.
“On the penalty, he could’ve saved it or I could’ve scored, I was lucky to score, and he had a great save too, in the last minute and we hit the post once,” Moreno said. “Definitely, the luck is not with us, but we're very sure that Sunday it's going to turn around.”
About 10 minutes later, Vaughn gave a red card to Shalrie Joseph for what he judged to be a rough tackle of United midfielder Ben Olsen. At most, it appeared to be a yellow card infraction.
After that, Revs coach Steve Nicol left Twellman alone to fend for himself, likely content to escape RFK with a point.
However, United were unlucky at the end not to come out with a win.
In the waning, chaotic stages of second half stoppage time, Olsen’s header from a Moreno pass struck the crossbar. Then, Luciano Emilio took a Bryan Namoff pass and seemed to have beaten Matt Reis to the lower left corner, but the hulking Revs goalkeeper showed cat-like reflexes in making a one-handed save diving to his right.
Talking about the team’s passion, Moreno said it was missing in the last few matches, but says the team is again showing championship character.
“DC United has a lot of heart, the players–we work hard for all the fans out there,” Moreno said. “We know that they appreciate all the hard work we do, but sometimes it’s just not there. But, we're human and we make mistakes and that's what it is.”
NE – Andy Dorman (unassisted) 46
DC – Jaime Moreno (penalty kick) 50
New England Revolution: Matt Reis, Jay Heaps, Michael Parkhurst, James Riley, Khano Smith, Shalrie Joseph, Jeff Larentowicz, Steve Ralston ©, Andy Dorman, Pat Noonan (Adam Cristman 58, Joe Franchino 87), Taylor Twellman
Substitutes Not Used: Doug Warren, Avery John, Marshall Leonard, Wells Thompson, Arsene Oka
STATS: Shots 8 (Smith 3); Shots on Goal 5 (Twellman 2); Saves 9 (Reis 9); Corner Kicks 0; Offsides 0; Fouls Suffered 22 (Noonan, Ralston 4); Fouls Committed 11 (Larentowicz 3)
D.C. United: Troy Perkins, Facundo Erpen, Bobby Boswell, Bryan Namoff, Fred (Guy Kpene 79), Christian Gomez, Ben Olsen ©, Clyde Simms (Brian Carroll 54), Joshua Gros, Nicholas Addlery (Jaime Moreno 46), Luciano Emilio
Substitutes Not Used: Jay Nolly, John Wilson, Stephen deRoux, Justin Moose
STATS: Shots 15 (Gomez, Olsen 3); Shots on Goal 10 (three players 2); Saves 4 (Perkins 4); Corner Kicks 8 (three players 2); Offsides 5 (Addlery, Emilio 2); Fouls Suffered 11 (Fred, Gomez 3); Fouls Committed 24 (Olsen 6)
DC – Bobby Boswell (caution) 24
DC – Christian Gomez (caution) 44
NE – Jeff Larentowicz (caution) 47
NE – Shalrie Joseph (ejection) 59
DC – Luciano Emilio (caution) 76
DC – Guy Kpene (caution) 94+
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee’s Assistants: George Gasner (SAR), Bill Dittmar (JAR)
Fourth Official: Andrew Chapin
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Cloudy and 62 degrees