Missed opportunities and miscommunication in the attacking third continue to be the name of the game for the New England Revolution as they fail to get any points against a red hot FC Dallas team out in Frisco, TX.
The team saw the surprising return of their consistently injured Frenchmen, Didier Domi and Ousmane Dabo, as they made their way to Nicol's starting XI. However, the welcome return of these valued veterans did little to help New England find an attacking spark, an area which continues to nag the Revs and which has no end in sight.
Unfortunately, because I was at the frankly disappointing match at Gillette Stadium between the US Men's National Team and the reigning Word Cup champs Spain, I was unable to watch the game live and subsequently unable to provide a live game thread. I did, however, take copious notes as I watched the recording of the game from my tiny Cambridge St. apartment, so here are some highlights:
- First real chance seems to come at 9 minutes where Boggs manages to sneak a decent through pass to Lekic who just sort of taps it forward instead of letting it rip. Easily handled by Hartman.
- Here's a few other quick, related notes from the early parts of the first half:
15’ horrible cross by Alston and we totally screw the pooch on a great chance
18’ Dabo gives it away
19’ Joseph kicks it out of bounds
23’ Boggs kicks it out to Tierney? Nobody there
29’ Lekic tries to get it to Shalrie again. No dice. again.
38’ Dabo to McCarthy…. Out of bounds
- And that was pretty much how the first half went. A lot of working hard to catch up to the ball only to get short moments of possession and then give it away while Dallas kept the ball with quick passes and collected composure.
- Getting out of the first half 0-0, I was feeling pretty optimistic, but praying that I would see some passing. It seems to me that not only are we failing at getting the ball from the midfield to our forwards, but also that we are reverting back to being unable to string together some simple passes, much like what plagued us early on in the season.
- Back from the half at about '64 there is an almost-fight where it looks like Matt Reis gets kicked pretty good, or at least almost gets kicked. Barnes (who came on at '58 for Domi), Phelan (who came on at '50 for Dabo), and a few others rush to Reis's side and stick up for their goalkeeper, which is always nice to see. Moreover, though, it becomes pretty clear that Domi and Dabo's consistent injuries are not only preventing them from being able to play full 90 minutes but also preventing them from being able to build some camaraderie and chemistry with the team, at least on the field.
- Dallas subs out Alexander for Milton Rodriguez to get some attack, which pays off at '68 with a truly hard fought goal by Marvin Chavez who outruns a somewhat timid Soares who maybe is just trying to play it safe and not risk any penalties. Classic lose-lose, but maybe a more experienced player (like Domi?) might have been able to play it better.
- It's also interesting at this point to note that where Dallas seems to have made a change in order to get themselves 3 points, the subs that New England made were just to manage the status quo and get the old Frenchmen off before they got too hot or tired.
- More of the same after this point. Revs get their first corner at '80, which sort of speaks volumes, honestly. This leads to 2 more consecutive corners, all of which produce nothing for the Revs.
- at '87 Matt Reis makes his third or fourth great save of the night and it is abundantly clear that Dallas is just going to hang onto their lead for the rest of the game.
So, that was all she wrote. The Revolution continue their winless streak on the road this season and drop to 3-6-4. Dallas continues to prove that they are indeed a team to be reckoned with and now are just 5 points away from the 1st place Galaxy in the Western Conference.
For the Revs, however, it is clear that the only thing that can cure our goal drought is a new cog in the machine. Surely the Revolution nation will be looking to Nicol and staff to bring in a big-time play-maker during the MLS transfer window which opens in mid-July, perhaps now more than ever as we clamor to keep it together a third of the way through the season that is starting to shape up as one to forget. Perhaps pairing someone with Lekic will get some figurative blood flowing and will get the club back on the right track. But, then again, maybe it's something more.
Personally, for me, as long as the Revolution keep playing with at least a little heart and a little bite, as compared to the empty, mediocre US National Team that I saw completely hand it to Spain today, I suppose that things could be worse. But I'm still jonesing for a goal (from the run of play), which I can only hope will be coming one of these days.