FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Revolution fell in a second straight league match this evening to the Los Angeles Galaxy at home. Once again, poor decision-making and finishing in the final third plagued them as a solitary opening for the Angelinos resulted in a goal.
David Beckham registered his league-leading seventh assist on Miguel Lopez's strike before a raucous Foxboro crowd of over 21,000, easily the Revs best to this point in the season. The match will be the last in a New England uniform for Benny Feilhaber and Shalrie Joseph - at least for a few weeks - as the two will now join their respective national teams for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Feilhaber also picked up an as-yet undiagnosed ankle injury.
The Revolution very nearly had a goal in just the second minute of the match. Rajko Lekic and Benny Feilhaber had a mix-up on the ball that resulted in an opportunity for Feilhaber to streak through the defense. His early cross found Boggs in the box, but the second-year forward skied his chance badly from the vicinity of the penalty spot when he really should have put it on frame.
Another clear-cut opportunity went begging seven minutes later. Industrious work from Zak Boggs left him free on the right, so he sent in a teasing cross for Lekic. Unfortunately, the Danish international couldn't stretch his boot far enough to make contact. It was all Revs for the next couple of minutes as Chris Tierney nearly caught the Galaxy in a moment of weakness, breaking out on the left and sending a great cross that met the head of Feilhaber but flew over the bar.
Lekic nearly had his second goal of the season in the 15th minute when he pounced on a poor backpass from A.J. DeLaGarza. He chased the ball down but Ricketts was just able to get there in time to make the save. A minute later, Rajko took a deflected ball off the chest and then thudded a looping volley that nearly dipped under the crossbar but ended up over.
Shalrie Joseph had the last chance of this extended period of dominance from the Revs. Kevin Alston crossed for Lekic but it was beyond him and found its way to Tierney, who skipped inside. His layoff for Joseph was good, but the captain's driven shot was always wide.
The Galaxy nearly took the lead in a frantic sequence in the 24th minute. A long clearance flicked on by Miguel Lopez reached Chad Barrett, who fired a quick shot to the near post that was saved by Reis and punched out for a corner. Beckham's delivery reached the head of Omar Gonzalez, and his header thundered off the underside of the crossbar before bouncing off the line and out. The linesman adjudged correctly that it hadn't fully crossed the line.
After a long period of slow play bogged down in midfield, the Galaxy roared to life again. An in-swinging cross from the deep areas reached the head of Donovan, but MLS's leading goalscorer knocked just a hair wide of the post. Lopez nearly atoned for it with a brilliant piece of play to cap off the half; he chested the ball down, flipped it over his head with his left and swerved his body totally around to fire a volley on frame, but it was low and right at Reis.
Franco Coria replaced Ryan Cochrane at halftime, the latter having been badly shaken up in a clash of heads with Miguel Lopez in the middle of the first half. Tierney and Lekic nearly linked up to finally find a breakthrough in the 53rd minute when the former's free kick found the latter's head. The angle was tricky but the wily striker snapped the ball on frame, only to find Ricketts standing there to catch easily.
The Galaxy managed a couple of dangerous shots from distance over the next ten minutes or so. In the 54th minute Juninho, who has already demonstrated his ability from outside the box this season, launched a corkscrewing shot that bent over the bar instead of under. Landon Donovan tried to do his best imitation four minutes later, but his blast fizzed just wide of the top corner of Reis' near post with the goalkeeper flailing.
A.J. Soares made a rare foray forward in the 64th minute that is worth mentioning even if there was no result. Finding himself at about the midfield line with space all around him, the rookie defender slalomed up the pitch, leaving several Galaxy defenders in his wake before nearly working his way around Omar Gonzalez in the D at the top of the box. Gonzalez appeared to foul him, but referee Jorge Gonzalez waved play on and the former Cal standout was left just inches from getting off a shot.
Despite some encouraging sequences from the Revs, it would be the Galaxy who would break the deadlock in the 69th. David Beckham received the ball in a deep area on the right flank and played in a tricky early ball. Miguel Lopez managed to get a slight flick on it, diverting it inside the far post with Matt Reis cheating near post and late on the dive.
Lopez nearly had a second in the 76th when he skipped along the edge of the area and then tore off a daisy-cutter that had Reis sprawling to push around the post. Benny Feilhaber tried a similar move of his own in the 80th minute but his left-footed shot was tame and easily gathered by Ricketts.
As the clock wound down, the Revolution started throwing caution to the winds and created a number of chances. Feilhaber nearly headed in a rare cross from Barnes as he was colliding with Schilawski, but the ball found the hands of Donovan Ricketts instead of the back of the net. Paolo Cardozo nearly doubled the Galaxy's advantage a minute later with a distance drive but Reis saved at the near post.
Feilhaber went down with a rolled ankle in the 89th minute but the 10-man Revolution soldiered on. Then, in a freakish sequence in the second minute of added time, they had three shots cleared off the line. A long ball into the box was challenged by Lekic and Ricketts, who cleared each other out. The rebound fell to Schilawski, who blasted a volley on frame that was cleared off the line by DeLaGarza. It fell out to substitute Sainey Nyassi, who put the ball back in and found Schilawski again, but his shot was saved by Ricketts. That rebound was nearly headed in by Joseph, but Donovan cleared it.
Matt Reis ended the match by turning back the clock and using a younger man's reflexes to knock away another shot from Cardozo on literally the last kick of the match.