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Revolution Report Card vs. D.C. United: Gameplan Falls Flat, Again

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Same story, different day. Did anyone shine for the Revs?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

In dire need of a win, the Revolution failed to recover from an early D.C. United penalty kick, ultimately falling to the home side, 3-0. Did anyone shine for the visitors?

We break down the match, position-by-position, and offer an overall team grade below.

Goalkeeper

Grade: B-

Report: Bobby Shuttleworth made a handful of outstretched saves on Saturday, and looked destined for another clean match—until the latter stages of the second half. From there, everything seemed to fall apart. He cheated ever so slightly on Luciano Acosta's clever chip from distance, and closed his body too much on Alvaro Saborio's late finish. Bobby certainly wasn't the goat; but with his team searching for an equalizer, he could have done better.

Defenders

Grade: B-

Report: Aside from a handful of isolated mistakes, the Revolution back line held its own. Andrew Farrell played hero on a number of occasions with gutsy interventions (nine interceptions in total), and London Woodberry, who came on the field after a Chris Tierney injury, looked strong on both sides of the ball. Woodberry didn't replace Tierney's productivity on the attacking end, but did effectively minimize mistakes in front of Shuttleworth.

Unfortunately, missteps ultimately caught up to the Revolution. Je-Vaughn Watson spoiled another strong defensive outing by conceding a first-half PK, his second in as many matches. Jose Goncalves gave Acosta acres of space to beat Shuttleworth on D.C.'s second goal. And Farrell badly misplayed the ball that led to Saborio's strike.

The Revolution defense will need to tighten up its play on Wednesday, when it hosts a Portland team that scored three goals in its last outing (April 16 vs. San Jose).

Defensive Midfielders

Grade: B+

Report: Scott Caldwell connected on a game-high 93.3 percent of his passes. Sounds familiar, right? With the Revs dominating possession for most of the match, the Akron grad had numerous opportunities to spur the attack. He took advantage, jumpstarting a handful of promising runs forward with a simple touch or one-two pass.

Opposite Caldwell, Gershon Koffie turned in a dominant defensive performance against a D.C. attack that threw numbers forward on the counter. He collected a game-high seven tackles and, best of all, refrained from picking up another yellow card. In the latter stages of the match, Koffie even ventured forward to have a few cracks at goal. This is the player Jay Heaps envisioned when he traded for him in February.

Attacking Midfielders

Grade: C+

Report: In familiar fashion, the Revolution midfield ran through Lee Nguyen. And the former MVP finalist showed his class, consistently exposing the D.C. back line with strong one-two passing, dribble sequences and turns in traffic. He finished the match with three shots and a pair of key passes.

Unfortunately, for the second week in a row, Nguyen's teammates struggled to provide attacking outlets from the flank. Diego Fagundez disappeared for prolonged stretches and failed to make his typical slicing runs. And Kelyn Rowe, who looked sharp tracking back (two tackles, two interceptions), failed to use his energy to break down the D.C. defense, aside from creating a handful of half-chances.

At one point, Heaps even pushed Nguyen out wide to accommodate for Tierney's attacking absence on the left side of the field. But no matter where he lined up, Nguyen lacked opportunities to connect on a final pass. He'll need a little more creativity from his fellow midfielders on Wednesday.

Forwards

Grade: C-

Report: After starting 20 of 34 matches last season, Teal Bunbury has started all eight matches this season. Of course, injuries to Charlie Davies and Juan Agudelo have played a factor. But even after scoring an equalizer last week against Orlando City SC, Bunbury has yet to prove his worth as a lone striker.

On Saturday, he ripped an early shot off the crossbar, and then proceeded to turn in a quiet match—even with his team dominating possession, and Nguyen, his team's most creative player, making surging runs forward. He moved out wide for Davies in the 58th minute, but still couldn't find the right run or the right pass to break through.

Davies had similar trouble, taking just 11 touches in his 32-minute shift. The pair combined for one off-target shot and no key passes. Clearly, neither player has the "hot hand"—but of the two, only Davies has proven he can consistently score in the No. 9 spot.

Head Coach

Grade: C-

Report: Through the first eight matches of the season, Heaps has selected a predictable rotation of players. Woodberry as the first defender off the bench. Kobayashi as the late-match attacking sub. Davies as Bunbury's second-half replacement up top.

So far, the formula has fallen flat. Heaps has continually tried the same solution to the same problem and expected a different result. With his team playing on short rest, expect Heaps to make a much-needed change against the Timbers on Wednesday.

Maybe that will mean turning to Steve Neumann instead of Kobayashi. Maybe it will mean throwing Tierney forward to join the midfield, if healthy. Maybe it will mean starting Davies and slotting Bunbury out wide. Regardless, Heaps needs to begin investigating solutions before his team falls too far out of the playoff mix.

Overall Team

Grade: C-

Final Word: Despite dominating possession throughout Saturday's match, and throwing numbers forward in the second half, the Revolution failed to find a game-changing pass, run or shot. The gameplan fell flat—again.