For the second time this season the New England Revolution turn around a 1-0 halftime deficit into a 2-1 win over D.C. United tonight at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA
Lee Nguyen’s second-half penalty kick conversion was the difference on a night when the Black-and-Red were on the back foot for nearly the entire ninety minutes. United could not string any passes together and were under heavy pressure from the Revolution who are in the hunt for one of the final playoff positions in the Eastern Conference. United did however jump out to a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute against the run of play when Luis Silva’s hopeful through ball was redirected into the goal by Revolution midfielder Scott Caldwell. Silva was attempting to thread the ball through a number of Revolution players to the onrushing John Thorrington but Caldwell took care of any finishing that might have required on the play.
The Revs continued to pour at United’s goal but Bill Hamid kept the home side at bay with a few routine saves as the teams went to the locker room. United offered very little cohesion in the first forty-five minutes and things did not improve in the second half either.
After the break it was more of the same and it didn’t help matters that United were just starting to fall on the wrong side of some dodgy calls from the game officials. United were whistled for a penalty when Dejan Jakovic seemed to make a routine tackle on Kelyn Rowe in the penalty area. The head referee felt differently and pointed to the spot. Nguyen stepped up and hit his shot to Hamid’s right only to see United’s burly goalkeeper make the save.
Just seconds later a United turnover gave the Revs their equalizer. However, once again the officials got it wrong as midfielder Diego Fagundez was clearly offside when he received a through ball but the diminutive midfielder put it past Hamid for his team-leading 11th goal of the season.
United had still failed to register a shot on goal deep into the second half when they almost fashioned the game-winner in the 82nd minute. Nick DeLeon and Conor Doyle combined to overwhelm Revolution defender A.J. Soares and DeLeon’s header sent Doyle in on goal. With Jose Goncalves and goalkeeper Matt Reis converging on Doyle, the Derby County on-loan striker managed to lift the ball over Reis. Reis quickly turned around sprinted for the goal line and palmed the ball away just inches before it crossed the line.
Just a minute later a poor decision by substitute Lewis Neal gifted the Revolution their second penalty kick when he dove in and clearly took down Nguyen. Nguyen waived off attempts by Fagundez and Rowe to take the second spot kick and the Revolution captain didn’t miss a second time when he calmly chipped to Hamid’s left as United’s goalkeeper dove again to his right.
United now has hit the 20-loss mark (3-20-6 15 points) on the season and are still win less on the road with an abysmal 0-12-3 record. For weeks now head coach Ben Olsen has made mention of his team building towards the Open Cup final on October 1st in Sandy, Utah against Real Salt Lake. Well, if their performance tonight and in recent weeks is any indication, United will be in for a long night in the Open Cup final.
United will now turn their attention to road match in Toronto next weekend where it is expected that Olsen will rest most, if not all of his expecting lineup ahead of the final in Utah just three days after this match. With United staring at the history books for season-long futility, I don’t expect much next weekend, even against a just as terrible TFC squad.