Second-half rally not enough after Revs’ slow start

Revs erased 2-0 halftime deficit but ultimately succumbed to D.C. United

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps was happy with his team’s response after falling behind 2-0 before halftime of Saturday night’s eventual 3-2 loss to D.C. United.

He just wasn’t happy the Revs found themselves in that position in the first place.

United scored on a pair of first-half set pieces, a weakness the Revolution’s opponents have exploited recently despite an increased focus on that facet of the game in training. Brandon McDonald opened the scoring with a well-placed header from Branko Boskovic’s free kick in the 15th minute, but it was Dejan Jakovic’s strike in first-half stoppage time which really irked Heaps.

“The second [goal] to me is unforgivable, quite frankly,” Heaps said. “It was [right] before half, just textbook [definition] of what you don’t want to give up. Not only was it an indirect free kick, but [the ball] also bounced and was kicked around in the box. That was a play that we need to be better on.”

During his halftime team talk, Heaps urged the Revs to dig deep and find a response. They did just that with a pair of goals inside the first five minutes of the second half; Saer Sène’s team-leading seventh goal of the season in the 48th minute and a deft header from A.J. Soares in the 50th minute. In a flash, the Revs had new life.

“We obviously weren’t happy with the effort in the first half,” said left back Chris Tierney, who took the corner kick which led to Soares’ goal. “We know we are a better team and we just have to believe that and believe in each other. We showed what we were capable of in the second half. Unfortunately, in this league if you don’t do it for 90 minutes it’s not going to amount to wins.”

As well as the Revolution responded after going down 2-0, United did the same after seeing its two-goal lead disappear. Maicon Santos came off the bench in the 57th minute and scored what proved to be the game winner in the 61st minute, making the Revs pay for one more lapse in concentration.

“We wanted the win and you could tell by seeing our guys’ faces that there was a belief that we could do it,” said Heaps. “They kept coming and coming. Unfortunately, we just gave the ball away and couldn’t keep it on the last goal. If we did a little bit better defending on that one play we could’ve at least had a draw.”