After last Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Los Angeles, New England coach Steve Nicol lamented that his organized side tossed aside a resolute defensive effort by squandering the two chances it created in the attacking third.
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Second-half substitute Kenny Mansally listened to the message and responded for the Revolution on Saturday night as he scored twice to propel New England to a 2-0 victory over D.C. United at RFK Stadium.
“We came in at halftime and we weren't good in the first half, but we were always going to make a chance at some stage,” Nicol said. “We did that last week, but we never took it. We made them [again] this week and we've taken them.”
Mansally opened the scoring in the 80th minute by starting and ending the Revs' best attacking move of the night. After distributing the ball out to Chris Tierney on the left wing, Mansally made his way into the penalty area and fired home an enticing deflection after Revolution forward Kheli Dube and United Dejan Jakovic diverted Tierney's driven cross at the near post.
The Gambian international sealed the points with a stunning effort two minutes later as he cut inside on his left foot, opened up a yard of space and curled home his effort to the far post.
“I saw the goalie was standing off the far post and I just tried to spin it there,” Mansally said.
Mansally's double ensured the Revolution would earn its reward for another composed and organized defensive performance. Although New England struggled to keep possession with Shalrie Joseph (right hip flexor strained) sidelined for a second consecutive match, the Revs nullified United's territorial advantage and yielded few opportunities to the home side.
“When you come into D.C. at any time, you know you're going to be under a lot of pressure,” New England goalkeeper Preston Burpo said. “They've got guys who can play soccer, you know? They like to keep it and the mentality was just to keep it tight in the back, which I think we did a pretty good job of all night. I don't think they got too many clear-cut chances, [maybe] a couple of free kicks. Give credit to the guys in front of me, that's for sure.”
The victory guaranteed this youthful Revolution side would return to Gillette Stadium for its home opener next Saturday against Toronto FC with three points gained on the two-match road swing. Considering the lengthy injury list – New England named just 17 players in its squad against United – and the number of fresh faces in the lineup, the first victory of the season serves as a boost for this new-look Revolution side.
“It's a great win for us to come on a road to a tough place to play like D.C. United and get the three points,” Tierney said. “This is a resilient squad. We're missing a couple of key guys, but we've proven that this group of guys here can get three points in a tough game like this.”