The Revolution's losing streak extended to four games tonight after suffering a 2-1 loss to Real Salt Lake out in Sandy, Utah. The hosts' two goals came from penalty kicks, one from Javier Morales and the other from Joao Plata, while Darrius Barnes was the Revs' lone goalscorer off a first half set piece. New England's lack of finishing came back to haunt them yet again as inspired chances created in the second half were left wanting in the end.
The first half played out laregely in Salt Lake's favor, with the hosts dominating possession for long stretches and getting into dangerous areas pretty regularly. Defender Andrew Farrell's speed was a difference maker on a number of occasions as he was forced track back and fend off the speedy Joao Plata on a few late runs. Meanwhile, a handful of unfortunate spills in the box by keeper Bobby Shuttleworth kept the Revs on high alert as they narrowly avoided disaster within the first half hour.
In the 34th minute, however, referee Alan Chapman determined that defender Chris Schuler was unfairly brought down in the box by Darrius Barnes on the end of an RSL corner kick, resulting in a penalty for the home side. Javier Morales put the shot past Shuttleworth with confidence.
But RSL's lead did not last long. In the 37th minute the Revolution earned a set piece in RSL's defensive half and Chris Tierney's service was sent in to the far post where a lunging Barnes buried it past Nick Rimando to level the score. With new life, New England found some rhythm to see out the half at 1-1.
In the second half, it was the visitors who came out on the front foot. New England set the pace with some simple one-touch passing to find their way in and around the Salt Lake penalty area, culminating in a corner kick in the 53rd minute. Taken short, the Revs were able to keep the ball in traffic within the RSL penalty area before spilling to captain Jose Goncalves. Goncalves rifled a shot to the near post which was deflected out by Rimando but then dangerously danced across the goal line before being cleared away.
Salt Lake gave their best attempt at answering back to the Revs' pressure. The hosts found themselves with a corner kick of their own in the 60th minute, which was sent in beautifully by Plata and seemed to have been buried by Nat Borchers after some bouncing around, but the referee signaled that the ball had been handled in the box by RSL and the goal was disallowed.
But five minutes later Salt Lake finally found their second goal. After another Plata set piece, the ball was once again pinging around the Revolution goal area unable to be cleared. Chris Tierney seemed to have dispossessed a possibly offside Devon Sandoval in the box, but Sandoval's challenge from behind took Tierney's legs out from beneath him. As Tierney was falling to ground, RSL midfielder John Stertzer's run collided with him, causing him to fall as well. Alan Chapman pointed to the spot and Plata rocketed his shot past Shuttleworth for the go-ahead goal.
New England still had more fight left in them, however. In the 69th minute, a beautiful cross from Chris Tierney skipped across the RSL goal-mouth untested. Both Patrick Mullins and substitute Teal Bunbury tried sliding to meet it at the back post, with Mullins looking likely to connect, but neither were able to put it away. Moments later Lee Nguyen sent in a picture-perfect chip to Kelyn Rowe, whose run was just as impressive, but Rowe's shot sailed over the cross bar.
The Revs' inspired second half efforts ultimately fell short and the final whistle signaled another defeat, their fourth straight. They'll now have to set their sights on the Chicago Fire next Saturday at Gillette Stadium to try to right the ship. But not before a mid-week trip to Philadelphia to face the Union in their US Open Cup Quarterfinal match-up.