Apr 5, 2012; Frisco, TX, USA; New England Revolution midfielder Stephen McCarthy (26) heads the ball during the first half against FC Dallas at FC Dallas Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
It was A.J. Soares' only foul of the match that cost the Revs any points in Frisco, TX Thursday night. A late stoppage-time goal by Ugo Ihemelu from a set piece in the Dallas attacking third was the dagger in the heart for the Revs, who played a mostly uninspired and sluggish match until the dwindling moments.
The game itself was nothing to write home about. Both teams played rather sloppy, particularly the Revolution, while attacking plays from the likes of Brek Shea, Blas Perez, and Fabian Castillo were the lone bright spots of excitement throughout, although they did not result in any balls in the net.
In stark contrast to their impressive victory over the LA Galaxy on Saturday night, the Revs were unable to get any sparks flying in the attacking third. When all was said and done, the Revolution seemed to have had the majority of possession, but nothing to show for it. The combination of Saer Sene and Ryan Guy did little to worry the Dallas midfield or defense, and players like Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen fell below their expectations coming into the match.
While the Revolution attack looked rather lackadaisical, the back-line was able to hold its own for the most part. A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy showed again the talents of their partnership in the center of defense, while Chris Tierney did not play his best game but was able to provide a bit of muscle on the left flank as well as leadership in the box at some key moments. Florian Lechner, however, who made his first Revolution start in place of the injured Kevin Alston, has perhaps the worst game of any Rev and struggled through the 90+ minutes of play to keep up with and shut down Castillo and Shea, amongst others.
The first half played out to a boring 0-0 scoreline, with both teams needing a pep talk desperately. Matt Reis was able to come up big against a Brek Shea shot from distance in the 34th minute, which essentially was the play that made the playing field remain even. But, otherwise, the match itself was tough to watch.
The second half, however, proved to be a bit more exciting. Lee Nguyen was able to draw a few promising free kicks for the Revs, but Kevin Hartman and the rest of the FC Dallas defense was able to stop any oncoming danger. George John left the game shortly after a Nguyen shot to the face around the 70th minute, from which point the game opened up more than it had all night.
Saer Sene was withdrawn in favor of the speedy and unpredictable Fernando Cardenas. Meanwhile, rookie Matt Hedges replaced George John on the FC Dallas back-line. Ryan Guy found himself on a good run in the 76th minute and appeared to be pushed down by Ihemelu just outside of the box, but the ref saw no foul and the game continued on.
in the 79th minute Revs fans were able to witness firsthand the presence of Jose "Pepe" Moreno who replaced Clyde Simms and slotted in up top, pushing Guy to right midfield. Moreno's first touch was perhaps the most exciting thing that the Revolution did all night as he cracked a laser from about 30 yards out in the 82nd minute, which Hartman handled but with great difficulty. His efforts for the remainder of the game were few, and not the best ever, but certainly promising. The match, however, played out its 90 minute duration, and the 4th official signaled for 3 minutes of additional time.
After roughly 3 minutes, captain Shalrie Joseph played a ball up field as A.J. Soares fell to the ground after a collision with Perez. Had he kicked the ball out of the play, the match may have ended at 0-0 at that time. Unfortunately, though, the play continued and ultimately led to a very unlucky and regrettable foul by Soares just outside of the Revs' goal area. Ihemelu headed home the game winner in the 94th minute of extra time and snapped the Revolution's 2-game win streak.
The Revs now head home to face a DC United squad that beat the very same FC Dallas team 4-1 less than a weak ago.