The New England Revolution looked dangerous on offense and created plenty of chances, but in the end could not overcome an equally dangerous New York Red Bulls side in Harrison as they lost 2-1. A Ryan Cochrane own goal and some trademark trickery from Thierry Henry put the Red Bulls in the lead before Zak Boggs' first goal of the season nearly represented a Revolution comeback in the second half.
Boggs' goal represented the Revs first from open play since April 23rd, and for periods of this match they looked in-sync and dangerous. For both teams, though, it was more of the same problems as shaky defense nearly undid the Red Bulls while a horrible lack of finishing ability kept the Revs from getting a share of the spoils.
New York very nearly took the lead in under 30 seconds of this match. A very poor defensive clearance from A.J. Soares fell right to Mehdi Ballouchy, who paused before springing Luke Rodgers with an excellent diagonal pass. The Englishman was under pressure from Ryan Cochrane and Matt Reis and fired just wide of the post.
It was Rodgers again who nearly found the first goal in the seventh minute. This time his strike partner Thierry Henry found him lurking in the box with an excellent quick pass, but the former Notts County hitman was closed down immediately by Soares and Cochrane and his shot was deflected away. Just a minute later, the same diminutive danger-man launched a blast from about twenty yards out that only missed the right post by about a yard.
The Revolution finally generated their first chance in the 11th minute. An Ousmane Dabo long-ball reached Chris Tierney. The left midfielder elected to shoot with no support arriving and had his shot deflected not far wide of the far post for a corner. Seconds later, Jan Gunnar Solli led the break by streaking down the right side and playing a cross to Ballouchy that was flicked back to Rodgers, but the Englishman's shot was scuffed harmlessly to Reis.
It looked as though someone would break the deadlock after a flurry of activity in the 17th minute. A long free-kick from Tierney was knocked across the face of goal by Pat Phelan, but rather than finding the net or another player, it skipped along the endline until Roy Miller collected it. He then sprung a counterattack that resulted in Luke Rodgers all alone against Soares. He stopped short and played a good diagonal ball toward Henry in the area but Didier Domi made a desperation interception and cleared the chance.
Dabo was replaced in the 20th minute by Stephen McCarthy after aggravating the same old thigh injury he's been battling for months. Zak Boggs nearly created a chance for Rajko Lekic or Tierney with a far-post cross from the right, but it was late and Lekic had to check his run, while it skipped over the foot of Tierney, who had laid out for the ball.
New England should have opened the scoring in the 32nd minute. Chris Tierney blew by his marker on the left and sent a dangerous cross in toward Lekic, but the Dane was brought down in the area by Stephen Keel. Terry Vaughn awarded the penalty, but Shalrie Joseph's effort was predictable and at just the right height for Greg Sutton to make the stop, denying the Grenadian his fifth goal of the season.
Four minutes later, the Red Bulls had their lead. Thierry Henry was sprung free on the right flank and drove to the byline. His cut-back had eyes for Ballouchy in the 6-yard box, but Ryan Cochrane made a crucial intervention. Unfortunately, he diverted the ball into his own net. New York almost had a second from a defensive blunder when a poor touch from McCarthy actually played an excellent floor pass to Rodgers, but he screwed his low shot wide of the right post.
New York wasted little time doubling their advantage. In the 49th minute, Henry sauntered into the left side of the area and pulled up with the ball. After several deft shoulder and ball fakes that left Cochrane totally bamboozled, and France's all-time leading goalscorer made no mistake with an effort to the far post and in.
It looked as though the match was going to be all Red Bulls from then on, but the Revs improbably clawed themselves into the match. A long cross from the left found Zak Boggs unmarked, who controlled the ball with his thigh and then absolutely decimated the ball with a leaping half-volley from a tight angle that left Sutton with no chance. That goal was Boggs' first of the season, and the first goal from open play the Revolution had scored since April 23rd.
New England enjoyed a spell of good play from that moment. Five minutes later, Rajko Lekic nearly killed a breakaway with a poor touch, but recovered fast enough to serve up the ball for Kenny Mansally. The Gambian, a substitute at striker for defensive midfielder Pat Phelan, wasted no time unleashing a wickedly bending shot from well outside the area that had Sutton at full stretch to make the save. McCarthy very nearly scored off the ensuing corner, thumping a close-range volley high and wide, but it was a difficult ball to play.
One of the clearest chances of the match came a minute after that. Some patient play in midfield resulted in Kenny Mansally setting Didier Domi free on the left flank. The French veteran played a dangerous cross to an unmarked Lekic, who opened his body too much and scuffed his shot just wide of the far post when he should have done much better. Zak Boggs then tried to get his second, flying down the right side on a break and launching a speculative effort that soared high and wide.
The Revs continued to show the ability to miss clear chances in the 72nd minute. Jan Gunnar Solli was far to lackadaisical with a back-pass and instead broke Mansally free on goal. However, the Gambian nearly missed the ball entirely and scuffed his shot well wide of the far post, fluffing an opportunity that was arguably better than Lekic's earlier miss.
New York reminded everyone that they were still there in the 74th when Joel Lindpere played in Ballouchy. The midfielder strode forward and slapped a good shot on goal, but Matt Reis was cat-like and got down to his left to bat it away. He then got up fast enough to save and hold substitute Corey Hertzog's follow-up effort. In the 80th minute, Lindpere nearly became the beneficiary of good build-up play when an Austin Da Luz pass dummied by Hertzog reached him at the top of the area, but the Estonian's drive was parried away by Reis.
Mansally missed another decent chance in the 83rd minute. Tierney was sprung free out on the left and yet again served up an excellent ball. It was slightly behind Lekic so the Dane hopped over it and let it run to Mansally, who slid in but was only able to push it wide, although he was well-covered by a Red Bulls defender. Sutton was able to collect with his feet and continue play.
New England had the final two clear chances in the match. In the 85th, a Tierney free-kick from deep sort of ping-ponged around the area until it dropped in for Mansally, who found himself all alone. He twisted his body and launched a close-range right-footed volley, but the ball soared over the bar when he should have kept it on frame. Minutes later, substitute Sainey Nyassi danced down the right and launched a great far-post cross. Lekic headed it in off the post from close range appearing to earn the Revs a draw, but the assistant flagged for offside. The replay showed it to be a close call, but the correct one.