Kenny Mansally scored goals in the 80th and 82nd minute to send New England to an improbable victory over D.C. United in the Black and Red’s 2010 MLS home opener. United were “shell shocked” according to head coach Curt Onalfo after the match which saw his team dominate possession throughout the match but also squander many chances to go ahead and put the visiting Revolution on the back foot. “You don’t finish your chances, you don’t win games” said Onalfo in a very quiet media room after the match.
United almost took the lead in the 14th minute when Santino Quaranta’s free kick was well saved by Revolution goalkeeper Preston Burpo. The kick was driven low and hard and only a reaction foot save seen mostly by NHL goalies kept the scoreline at 0-0. Striker Chris Pontius had two golden opportunities to put United ahead but his 36th minute redirect of a Quaranta centering pass was deflected away from danger by defender Emmanuel Osei. Just before halftime Pontius missed his best chance when he headed Brandon Barklage’s driven cross over the bar when a simple touch downward would have opened his scoring account on the season.
As it happens though in almost textbook Steve Nicol coached Revolution fashion, the longer the defensive minded Revolution stay even, the more dangerous they become and that was proven to be true to the detriment of the 20,664 fans in attendance in the 80th minute. United failed to clear a ball from danger and it ended up bounding into the left corner of the field. Revolution midfielder Chris Tierney sent a wicked cross into the box that took a slight deflection off of Kheli Dube and right into the path of Mansally who easily beat Troy Perkins and give the Revolution an undeserved 1-0 lead. With all the air taken out of the stadium from that unlikely goal (the Revolution had just registered their first shot on goal in the 74th minute), Mansally struck again just two minutes later when he curled a beautiful ball over the outstretched fingertips of Perkins and United’s misery was complete.
A thoroughly frustrating night all around for the Black and Red as they now have gone two straight games without threatening goal. Most neutral observers commented before the season that the one thing United would have trouble doing is replacing the firepower that left the team in the form of Luciano Emilio, Christian Gomez and Fred. Well, two matches into the young MLS season and the pundits have been spot on. United will now go to Philadelphia to play the expansion Union in their home opener next Saturday evening at 6pm at Lincoln Financial Field. One dreads to think where the confidence of this team will be if they fail to come back to DC without another goal, much less a point.
UnitedMania will be giving away some World Cup soccer jerseys and soccer jerseys from our good friends at SoccerPro. Simply comment on this editorial for a chance to win. We will pick one lucky visitor at random and announce the 1st winner live on our next podcast on 4/11/2010 at 7:00 PM.