D.C. United 3, Revolution 2: Defensive Woes Continue to Doom Revs in Five-goal Thriller

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 26: Brandon McDonald #4 of D.C. United celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal against the New England Revolution during the first half at RFK Stadium on May 26, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

On a hot and sticky night in the nation's capitol the New England Revolution fell to heated Eastern Conference rival D.C. United 3-2 after surrendering two woeful set-piece goals in the first half.

Saer Sene and A.J. Soares both found the scoresheet for New England in a wildly entertaining second half, but it was once again poor positioning and overall team defending that denied the Revs an important result on the road.

After a fairly even opening act, it was DC. United taking control of the match in the 15th minute when what seemed like a harmful floating free kick found the head of Brandon McDonald, whose flick on header found the back of net over the head of an out of position Matt Reis.

While New England managed to respond well to the opener, it was United who would again find the scoresheet late in the first half, this time off of yet another set piece. D.C. United earned a corner kick in the 38th minute, and while the orginal chance was stopped, the Revs failed to clear the lines and it was Dejan Jakovic sliding the ball into the back of the net, doubling the United lead before the half.

Whatever Revolution head man Jay Heaps said at the half seemed to truly inspire the troops as the Revs began the second half on fire. It was Saer Sene who opened the scoring for New England after pouncing on a rebound off of a vicious blast from Benny Feilhaber.

The goal inspired the Revs to push on further, and the equalizer was earned only two minutes later, when a Chris Tierney corner kick found the head of center back A.J. Soares, who buried the chance and leveled the match.

New England was well in front of the match, and the Revs continued to push forward for the go-ahead goal, which proved fatal, as their attacking style of play led to the third and final D.C. goal.

Maicon Santos began the sequence in the 61st minute after the Revs were caught out in transition and played the ball to Dwayne DeRosario, who cut the ball back to Santos behind the Revs defenders at the top of the box and the Brazilian found his target and buried the ball in the back of the net.

New England, to their credit, refused to lay down and continued to battle for the equalizer, and came close on more than one occasion. Shalrie Joseph found himself some space in the box after a pretty bit of dirty work but his volley was over the bar, and speedster Fernando Cardenas had a lovely curling effort later that ended in the same result.

The best chance New England had to equalize was through Kelyn Rowe, who rose above the United defense and hit a massive header exactly where you needed to hit it at the top corner, but it was keeper Bill Hamid who came up with the Herculean effort, making the save and preserving the victory for D.C.

The Revs continue to be an absolute mixed bag of many things. The offense at times looks incredibly potent and dynamic, and at others, looks punchless. However, without question, the biggest problem facing this Revolution side as it moves forward through the dog days of summer, is the organization and performance (or lack thereof) of the defense. Doomed once again by poor marking and positioning, it may be time to see a fresh face or two in the back four.

New England will head to Pennsylvania ahead of their Tuesday night U.S. Open Cup match with the Harrisburg City Islanders, and will then return home to Foxboro to face another Eastern Conference foe, the Chicago Fire.

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