Finishing touch lacking in scoreless draw
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – One look at the final box score told the story for the New England Revolution on Wednesday night.
The Revs registered a season-high 19 shots – including seven which found the target – and consistently buzzed around Toronto FC’s net with a season-high 11 corner kicks, but all the pressure didn’t translate to goals as the sides played to a scoreless draw at Gillette Stadium.
“We’ve had plenty of the ball in the final third and we haven’t produced that bit of quality that’s needed,” said head coach Steve Nicol. “That pretty much says it all.
“We need to score goals,” Nicol added. “We put pressure on them, which we wanted to do, make it hard for them. We did that. But again, we come back to the crux that we’re just lacking that killer pass or that killer finish or killer run … we were just a half yard short.”
Unsurprisingly, the majority of New England’s chances came through forward Rajko Lekic and captain Shalrie Joseph. Lekic side-footed narrowly wide of the right post in the 58th minute and just missed connecting on Kenny Mansally’s low cross in the 71st minute, while Joseph had a pair of long-range drives stopped by TFC goalkeeper Stefan Frei in a frantic second half.
While it was another encouraging performance from the Revolution, it was little consolation in the aftermath of a frustrating result.
“That’s how close and how far away we are from scoring goals,” said Nicol. “We’re almost, but almost doesn’t get you goals. But we have to keep banging away, and all it’ll take is a break, or a good ball or a finish or something and you hope that it’ll kind of open the floodgates and we’ll start putting the ball in the net more often.”
Darrius Barnes – who started at left back in place of the injured Didier Domi (R Achilles tendonitis) – agreed with the notion that one or two goals could provide a bit of self belief and put the Revs on the right track.
“We just have to get that last piece together, that finishing touch,” he said. “I believe when we get that monkey off our back and we get the ball in the net the first time, it’ll start rolling a bit. This team just has to get some confidence going forward and I believe we’ll be alright.”
While they continue their search for goals, the Revs will be buoyed by their performance at the defensive end of the field as they limited TFC to four shots on target and recorded their first clean sheet since May 14 against Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
The Revs will take what they can from the scoreless draw and quickly begin preparing for another critical home game on Saturday night against the Chicago Fire.
“I feel like the backline held its own tonight,” said Barnes. “We pretty much limited Toronto’s chances for the duration of the night. We were just a little bit unfortunate tonight. It’s the story of these last few games for us. We can’t finish and if we don’t put balls in the back of the net, we’re not going to win.
“We’re just going to put this one behind us and continue to work and continue to look forward,” he added. “We have a big game on Saturday against Chicago.”