Fresh off a six-goal match against the Dynamo in which both defenses went missing, the Revolution played D.C. United to a scoreless draw. We break down the match, position-by-position, and offer an overall team grade below.
Report: D.C.'s reinvented attack rarely threatened, thanks to a stout performance by the Revolution back four. When it did, Bobby Shuttleworth put himself in position to make a routine save. The Revs' keeper made three stops in total.
Report: In just a week's time, the Revolution back line shook of the rust from a sloppy 3-3 draw in Houston. Jose Goncalves led the way for the home side, amassing six interceptions in one of his better performances for the Revolution. He clogged the passing lanes, looked dominant in the air (five aerial wins) and used his strength to beat Luciano Accosta to a through ball that would have put the Argentine 1v1 with Shuttleworth.
But as impressive as JoGo and the back line looked defensively, they looked even stronger moving forward. Chris Tierney and Je-Vaughn Watson spent most of the match threatening from the flank, which afforded the pair plenty of opportunities to create behind their attacking 'mates. A heat map from the match (moving left to right; Watson on the right side, Tierney on the left) shows just how frequently the pair pushed forward (warmer colors represent more activity).
In just two weeks, Watson has evolved into an essential component of the attack, highlighted by his strength over the ball and ability to beat defenders on the dribble. The man who signed with the Revolution just nine days ago looks like a Starting XI mainstay—for now, at least.
Report: Gershon Goffie bounced back from a routine performance to put his balanced skillset on display. He hawked D.C.'s attack from start to finish (four tackles), won 50/50 balls in the middle of the park and constantly found Diego Fagundez and Lee Nguyen with space in the attacking third. The Revs need this version of Koffie moving forward.
Offensively, the Revolution midfielders did everything right—except put the ball into the net. Nguyen, Fagundez, Teal Bunbury and Scott Caldwell pestered D.C.'s back line, creating a combined 11 goal-scoring opportunities. Unfortunately, they failed to finish all of them. Nguyen taking a shot off the crossbar, Bunbury (who started as a midfielder) going for goal from an awkward angle instead of hitting a cross into the six, Rowe pulling a late strike wide—the execution left some to be desired. A little more polish in front of goal would have gone a long way for this group.
Report: The loss of Charlie Davies, who exited in the 34th minute with a hamstring strain, forced Jay Heaps to shuffle his attack far earlier than planned. In Davies place, Heaps opted to push Bunbury into the center forward spot. The move proved effective, as Bunbury found space over the top, flanked by substitute Juan Agudelo, who found space to maneuver underneath.
Agudelo, in particular, looked dangerous in the attacking third, using his physical, hold-up approach to create a handful of goal-scoring opportunities. Unfortunately, both Agudelo and Bunbury came up empty (four combined shots, none on goal), much like their teammates. On a day when the back line earned a clean sheet, the attack struggled to do its part.
Report: From a tactical perspective, Heaps accomplished his goal: maximize touches from Nguyen and Fagundez and push the wide defenders forward to pin D.C. back defensively. Even when faced with an unexpected challenge—the injury to Davies—Heaps made necessary tweaks, relying on the slashing style of Bunbury to make runs at goal and the back-to-goal style of Agudelo to maintain possession. His team simply failed to execute.
Final Word: A much-improved defensive performance helped the Revs earn a point—but a little finishing help from the attack would have helped the club earn all three.