The New England Revolution haven't exactly executed the way they probably drew it up against D.C. United in the first half on Saturday night, but luckily for them, their opponents aren't very good. It was a sloppy half of soccer played at a breakneck pace without much sharpness in the final third, though the Revs have had the better of the chances.
The first real opportunity was in the 8th minute, when Nick Deleon ran onto a loose ball on the right side and cut into the box before firing from an acute angle, but he pulled it wide of the far post. It was nearly ten minutes later that the next chance came, and it was in New England's favor. Chris Tierney played a ball in to Diego Fagundez, who played a clever little heel flick to get Lee Nguyen in on goal. Nguyen skipped in to his right and then fired, but buzzed it over.
The Revs thought they had a goal in the 19th minute when Saer Sene buried a half volley inside the near post, but it was called back when Juan Agudelo was adjudged to have fouled a defender in the box. Sene then put one narrowly over the crossbar from about 25 yards out in the 22nd minute.
Scott Caldwell forced a rather routine save out of Bill Hamid when he crushed a half-volley that bounced right at the United goalkeeper. Just a minute later, in the 28th, Chris Pontius' shot from a narrow angle forced a save out of Bobby Shuttleworth.
Juan Toja had a shot saved excellently by the athletic Hamid in the 31st minute. Sene and Pontius traded shots near the 40th minute, but neither even forced a save.
D.C. has slightly out-possessed the Revs, but it hasn't been dramatic or particularly noticeable. What has been noticed is the fact that the refereeing crew is having a very difficult time keeping control of the physicality of the match. It is head referee Ted Unkel's first time running the crew in an MLS game, and so far it's showed. Several hard fouls have been let go entirely, and one or two fouls that probably deserved cards have just seen words from the ref.