WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 20: Bill Hamid #28 of D.C. United defends the ball against Rajko Lekic #10 of the New England Revolution at RFK Stadium on July 20, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Ned Dishman/Getty Images)
The New England Revolution managed to find a way to win in the nation's capitol this evening as they bested DC United 1-0 at RFK Stadium. The victory marked their first in nine league matches and allowed them to avoid setting a new team record for futility.
Rookie Stephen McCarthy scored his second goal of the season to give the Revs the lead and New England never looked back. United had the better of the possession and for the most part looked like the more dangerous team, but they were unable to capitalize on their chances and continued their dismal home record.
For the first twelve minutes or so nothing of note really occurred other than a couple of speculative long-range efforts from Dwayne De Rosario and Chris Tierney. Then, in the 12th minute, Zack Schilawski flew in a good bending cross from the left side that met the head of Rajko Lekic in front of goal. Unfortunately, the ball was slightly behind him and too high, and his header sailed wide.
DC then took over the game, with De Rosario leading the charge. He received a good pass from Chris Pontius just outside the D in the 16th minute and, with entirely too much space, took a few touches before ripping a bending ball that blazed just over the bar. Just a minute later, Clyde Simms sprung Charlie Davies from deep in midfield and the speedy forward beat the offside trap before cutting inside around Cochrane and drilling a daisycutter to the near post that Matt Reis did very well to get down and parry away.
Just a minute after that, DeRo turned and nearly embarrassed Ryan Cochrane just outside the area and had another effort saved by Reis. The Canadian tested Reis's gloves once again in the 24th minute with a range effort that Reis was able to catch. Continuing his run of dangerous plays, De Rosario received the ball out wide on the right in the 29th minute and sent in an excellent cross for the run of Davies, who was covered only by Kevin Alston, but the fullback used his speed to nick the ball away and clear.
The Revolution didn't even have an effort that could be considered threatening until the 32nd minute. Zak Boggs had a shot blocked that fed out to midfield before being played back in by Tierney. Shalrie Joseph headed it back down and Boggs sized up a half-volley that was crushed straight at Bill Hamid, who slapped it away. Rajko Lekic spurned on opportunity after a giveaway allowed Schilawski to play him in diagonally, with the Dane unfortunately taking a heavy touch and having the ball cleared by Brandon McDonald. The ensuing corner saw Stephen McCarthy screw a leaping volley just wide.
It looked as though DC would come away with the lead when in the 43rd minute, a long corner was played back in on the right side but ricocheted off the outstretched arm of Pat Phelan. Matt Reis appeared to play mind games with Charlie Davies when he stepped up to take the kick, and sure enough, Davies blasted his penalty over the bar and the Revolution dodged a bullet going into halftime.
The first ten to twenty minutes of the second half proceeded similarly to the first, with futile long-range efforts producing the only real highlights in play. Out of nowhere, Stephen McCarthy broke the doldrums with a great far-post cross that was met by Zack Schilawski, but his short-range header blazed just high and wide. Clyde Simms responded five minutes later with a rasping low shot from outside the box that rolled wide of the left post.
A.J. Soares continued to show progress in an excellent rookie season in the 70th minute. Dwayne De Rosario collected a great ball from Chris Pontius and thought he had the Cal alum turned, but Soares stayed with him and put on enough pressure to make sure his shot was scuffed wide when he really should have done better.
Two minutes later, Chris Tierney played in a great free-kick that Rajko Lekic headed wide when he should have put on frame. Replays indicated that Pat Phelan had gotten a slight touch on it first, messing with Lekic's judgment, but the Dane really should have done better.
Stephen McCarthy made amends for the miss in the 73rd minute. Chris Tierney flighted in an excellent out-swinging corner and McCarthy freed himself at about the penalty spot. His header was quality, and he tucked the ball inside the uncovered far post to give the Revolution a surprise lead.
Matt Reis continued his good performance 78th minute. Charlie Davies held the ball at the edge of the box and fed DeRo on the left, who drove the byline and then cut the ball back for Austin Da Luz, whose low shot was smothered by the keeper. Just four minutes later, he made a save that should easily win Save of the Week as DeRo strode into the area unchallenged, but Reis cut the angle and made an excellent point-blank kick save at the near post to deny DC an equalizer.
The Revs nearly doubled their advantage in the 86th minute through a crazy sequence. It began with an overhead clearance from Kenny Mansally that fell in midfield to Pat Phelan. The midfielder chested it down to Shalrie Joseph, who held up just long enough to slip a clever ball through behind the defense to Sainey Nyassi, who was one-on-one with the onrushing Bill Hamid. Hamid got a finger to it as Nyassi tried to round him but Nyassi was able to recover, but he couldn't turn fast enough to get his shot on frame and the goalkeeper was able to make the save.
Joseph Ngwenya had two efforts in the dying moments of the match but missed on one and had the last one saved by Reis, allowing New England to steal their first win in nine league games.