The Revolution welcomed MLS newcomers Portland Timbers to Foxboro tonight and were forced to settle for a disappointing draw before a paltry crowd of 7,114. The match was contested from end to end, but the Revs will feel they should have gotten more for the game after missing several good chances.
Stephen McCarthy opened the scoring (and his MLS account) with an excellent volley in the 22nd minute off a poor Portland clearance, reminiscent of the goal Juninho scored against New England in week one. Portland captain Jack Jewsbury then drew the visitors level in the 38th with a daisy-cutter from the edge of the area. Several Revolution players had a chance to win it for the home side but were unable to convert their chances.
New England dominated the run of play for much of the first half hour or so in the match. Although Portland registered more shots in the early going, the Revs had the first really clear chance in the 7th or 8th minute when Zak Boggs was played in on goal. The ball got caught under his feet, however, and he was unable to even muster a shot before the ball was gobbled by Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson.
The Revs were able to keep a good amount of possession but Portland were content to wait for their chances and break quickly on the counter. This resulted in several shots for Jewsbury and Kenny Cooper alike, but they were unable to get their efforts on frame. Sainey Nyassi, playing on the left wing tonight, cut inside in the 21st minute and pinged a wonderful curling shot off the crossbar after Gleeson barely got a fingertip to it.
After McCarthy gave the Revs the lead, New England seemed to retreat slightly, as if to sit on the lead and ride out the rest of the match comfortably. Portland were quick to disabuse them of any notions of an easy go of things as Kenny Cooper forced a smart save from Matt Reis in the 32nd, which prefaced Jewsbury's goal. Jeremy Hall put in a good bit of hold-up play, forcing Kevin Alston to commit inside, and then laid it off for Jewsbury who made no mistake.
Zak Boggs forced a good save from Gleeson just before the half, but the Revs didn't seem to take the pitch with the same level of intensity. Whereas in the first half they consistently looked like the more dangerous team, after the interval they allowed Portland to take a greater share of the momentum and start to take the game to the Revs.
Shalrie Joseph did get a good effort on goal in the 50th minute but Gleeson was equal to it. Both teams managed to muster dangerous sequences without actually getting the ball on frame, with several near-misses and half chances left begging. Kalif Alhassan thumped a free kick off the base of the left post in the 70th minute with Reis beaten.
The Revs had a late chance to grab the winner they wanted when Nyassi and substitute Kenny Mansally combined beautifully on the right with a give-and-go, but Nyassi's final product was found wanting as he shaped to shoot but instead scuffed a poorly-aimed low-post cross along the floor that was just ahead of Schilawski and Boggs.