Seeking a highly-coveted road win, the Revolution turned in a dud against D.C. United on Saturday. Here’s who impressed, and who didn’t, during the 1-0 loss:
The scoreline of Saturday’s match reflected Cropper’s brilliance more than anything else. Though he made several big saves, two stops on Patrick Mullins defined his night: a full-stretched, fingertip denial off a header and a one-on-one stop in which Cropper took a flawless angle to the ball. The Revolution keeper also looked steady with his feet, even when back passes from his defenders put him in danger.
On a night when his attack failed to find the back of the net, Cropper single-handedly prevented a blowout in the capital city, all while setting a personal MLS record with five saves.
In his second MLS start, Dielna proved his strong debut was no fluke. He spaced himself well beside Antonio Delamea while constantly bullying D.C.’s attackers (Dielna’s physicality resulted in four fouls and a yellow card). The center back even contributed offensively. He sent several accurate long-balls into the attacking third and completed an impressive dribble sequence down the right channel, a play that showed off his high work rate.
In the end, Dielna brought intensity to a match that should have felt more urgent for the rest of the 10th-place Revolution lineup. He finished with three tackles, six clearances and an 88 percent passing percentage, best among Revs starters.
The Revs went into Saturday’s match without midfielders Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen, as well as forward Krisztian Nemeth, who has yet to reach match fitness. Those absences created a challenge for Jay Heaps. But with talent like Juan Agudelo, Kei Kamara and Diego Fagundez filling the Starting XI, the Revolution should have done better against a bottom-feeding D.C. United side that has conceded more goals than any Eastern Conference club this season.
Of the 12 chances the Revolution created, only a third resulted in a shot on goal. The unit missed close-range shots, took ambitious looks at goal and, at times, relied too much on the dribble. Turnovers by Diego Fagundez and Teal Bunbury forced Cropper into his two highlight-reel saves on Mullins. All of that overshadowed a few individual bright spots, like Fagundez’s creativity behind the ball and Kamara’s work in possession.
Sadly, the best attacking opportunity on the night came on a galloping run from defender Je-Vaughn Watson, who cruised past several D.C. United defenders and forced Bill Hamid into a near-post save.
The Revs needed more form the likes of Agudelo & Co. Perhaps the debut of Nemeth and return of Nguyen will like a fire under the talent-rich unit.
All stats courtesy of WhoScored.com.