Another New England Revolution home opener, another 0-0 draw in the books. With D.C. United visiting Gillette Stadium Saturday afternoon, neither team displayed enough conviction in front of goal to warrant all three points, as threatening chances were few and far between.
"A little disappointed in not getting the full three points," said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. "I thought we went about the game the right way and tried to create as much as we could. Credit our guys, we fought to the last whistle and even got a chance there in the last couple seconds when a team isn't giving you much."
The first half set the tone for the encounter, as the Revs held the majority of possession and had trouble breaking down D.C.'s compact banks of four. The visitors mustered two shots on goal, while New England failed to land any of its nine attempts on target.
"They bunkered in pretty well at times," said Revs midfielder Scott Caldwell. "We actually created a few chances, maybe they didn't lead to shots on goal but we got down their end-line a couple times. We opened them up a little bit and that kind of set us forward for the second half."
D.C.'s center back pairing of Bobby Boswell and Steve Birnbaum kept New England's attack under wraps, and the only major talking point came at the misfortune of Charlie Davies' health. The Revs striker went down with an undisclosed injury in the 33rd minute, and was consequently subbed off for Juan Agudelo.
Come the second half, the Revs played with increased urgency and intent, as Revs midfielder Lee Nguyen displayed the form that made him a league MVP candidate just two seasons ago.
His first golden opportunity arose in the 55th minute when he pelted the crossbar off feed from Revs winger Teal Bunbury. Nguyen again found himself in a delectable position in the 58th minute, but his laced strike was palmed away by D.C. goalkeeper Travis Worra and the follow-up attempt was wayward.
"I thought we created enough chances to win the game, but we didn't take one," said Revs left back Chris Tierney. "That's all it really is. It's just that last final ball and a little bit of sharpness around goal that is just missing, but I thought we did enough to put ourselves in a position to get a result. We just didn't get the bounces and didn't make the crucial plays when we had chances to score."
As the match wore on, Heaps and Ben Olsen both made attacking substitutions, with striker Alvaro Saborio entering the fold for the visitors and winger Kelyn Rowe coming on for the home side. Neither could change the pedestrian affair's complexion much, though, and D.C. seemed increasingly content with settling for a draw on the road.
With a 0-0 result looming in second half stoppage time, Rowe had the game's best chance, yet found himself between two strains of thought. The midfielder neither crossed for Agudelo at the back post nor shot with enough venom to best Worra, sending each team home with a point.
While the Revs are still winless on the year and felt overall disappointed at Saturday's result, Heaps assured there's no reason to panic this early in the season.
"We preached patience all week ... and your not going to get them open every time," Heaps said. "That's the reality of having a lot of guys behind the ball. We still got in. We'll go back and look at the film, but there were three or four clear chances where we hit the crossbar, or Kelyn's chance at the end, or Juan was one v. one."