Goal triggers "rollercoaster" ride for Revs rookie
It didn't take New England forward Zack Schilawski long to locate the appropriate word to describe his tumultuous 10-minute stretch during Saturday night's 1-1 draw with FC Dallas.
“It was a little bit of a rollercoaster,” Schilawski told MLSsoccer.com on Saturday night.
Although Schilawski hit the outside of the far post with an opportunistic effort earlier in the first half, his ride truly started four minutes before the halftime interval.
FC Dallas bombarded the New England goal and dominated possession early in the match, but a shocking error from Dario Sala handed Schilawski the opportunity to send the Revs in front. Sala attempted to shepherd a ball out over the end line when a long kick up the field looked like the smart move. Kheli Dube made Sala pay for his misjudgment by procuring the ball before it trickled out and crossing it to Schilawski, who slid it home for his team-leading fourth goal of the season.
“It was a great play by Kheli to hustle down there and make it happen,” Schilawski said. “When I see him make that play, I'm thinking to myself that I have to get into the box. Those are my instincts as a forward to hopefully get in there and, if there's a play to be made, you can make it. Kheli made it happen for me. I knew it was going to be close, so I just tried to slide and get anything I could on it. I was able to get my toe on it.”
The goal represented Schilawski's last meaningful contribution of the match, however.
With New England overrun in midfield during the opening half, Revolution boss Steve Nicol withdrew Schilawski at halftime and inserted Khano Smith on the left wing to match FCD's five-man midfield. Dube represented the better option to operate as a lone frontrunner, so Nicol took Schilawski to the side and explained to him that he needed to withdraw him in order to make the necessary tactical changes.
“We were getting totally out-played through the middle of the park,” Nicol said. “They were just rolling balls in between us through the middle of the field. It was only a matter of time before they scored if we continued to let them do that. I thought we had no choice.
“We went ahead and we certainly didn’t deserve to be ahead, but we were. So we thought we had to make it more difficult for them and that was how we had to do it.”
Goal-scorers aren't often removed shortly after finding the scoresheet, but Schilawski said he backed Nicol's judgment and grasped why his night suddenly screeched to a halt for the good of the team.
“I would have liked to be out there for sure, first things first,” Schilawski said. “Coach said that he needed to make some tactical changes and, unfortunately, that didn't include me. I understand why [and] we got the point.”