FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Saturday night’s meeting between the New England Revolution and San Jose Earthquakes wasn’t short on action, but it was short on goals. Although both teams were dangerous in the attacking third, neither club found a way to make the decisive breakthrough and the result was a 0-0 draw in front of 13,611 fans at Gillette Stadium.
Senegalese midfielder Joseph Niouky came closest for the Revs when he struck the post with an optimistic 35-yard blast in the 62nd minute. Six minutes later, Revolution goalkeeper Preston Burpo – who made six saves to preserve his second shutout of the season – stoned Earthquakes defender Bobby Burling’s breakaway attempt with a brave body block.
The shutout was a positive result for the Revolution (2-5-2, 8 pts.) – which has been prone to defensive lapses in recent weeks – but the draw did extend the club’s winless streak to six games (0-4-2) in the league and seven games (0-5-2) in all competitions. It was the first draw of the season for the Earthquakes (4-2-1, 13 pts.), who have now held their opponents scoreless for three consecutive games.
For the third straight league match, injuries left the Revs unable to fill out a full game-day roster and they dressed just 16 players. That group included defenders Kevin Alston (R hamstring strain) and Cory Gibbs (R quad strain) – both of whom started on the backline after recovering from their respective injuries – and midfielder Marko Perovic, who returned to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension last weekend against the Crew. With just three healthy defenders, midfielder Pat Phelan filled in as a central defender.
Phelan and the rest of the backline were under pressure on a few occasions in the opening 10 minutes as the Earthquakes settled into their typical attacking style. Burpo came up big in the eighth minute to deny Ryan Johnson’s first-time shot after he was set up by Chris Wondolowski, who had a four-game goal-scoring streak snapped on Saturday night.
After absorbing the early pressure, the Revs slowly began to work themselves into the game and were firmly in control for the remainder of the first half. A pair of long-distance free kicks from Perovic and a tight-angle drive from Chris Tierney represented the best chances in the middle portion of the stanza, but despite their offensive thrust, the Revs didn’t force Earthquakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon into a save.
Cannon was called into action in the 43rd minute, however, when his fantastic diving stop kept the game scoreless going into the halftime break. A half-clearance from the San Jose defense fell to Sainey Nyassi 20 yards from goal, and the Gambian let fly on a full volley. The shot was pegged for the upper left corner, but Cannon stretched to parry the ball over the end line.
New England continued to push forward early in the second half and Kheli Dube forced another diving save out of Cannon with a long-range shot in the 48th minute. Five minutes later, Perovic’s low corner kick to the near post was cleverly flicked on by Seth Sinovic, but the effort looped just over the crossbar.
Niouky came inches from finally breaking the deadlock – and scoring his first goal for the Revs – in the 62nd minute, but his 35-yard drive struck the left post and kicked back into the middle of the box. Perovic was first to the rebound and directed a shot on target, but it was weakly hit and didn’t trouble Cannon.
Two minutes later, the Earthquakes built a response through Johnson. Burpo came well off his line to deal with a long ball, but Johnson reached it first and attempted to round the Revs keeper. Johnson got a shot off from a tight angle, but Burpo recovered to paw the shot away.
Burpo denied Johnson again in the 67th minute, diving to his left to parry a close-range header from Wondolowski’s bouncing service. Just one minute later, Burpo came up with the save of the game, making himself big and using his body to save Burling’s blast after the defender was put clean through on goal.
The Earthquakes continued to look the more likely side to score in the late stages, and Wondolowski blasted just high from the right side of the box in the 78th minute, but it proved to be the last quality chance of the match.
Next up for the Revs is a midweek friendly against Portuguese club SL Benfica on Wednesday, May 19. Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 8 p.m. The Revolution will then return to league action on Saturday, May 22, when the club travels north of the border to visit Toronto FC at BMO Field at 1 p.m.
New England Revolution (2-5-2, 8 pts.) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (4-2-1, 13 pts.)
May 22, 2010 – Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
New England Revolution: Preston Burpo (GK), Kevin Alston, Cory Gibbs ©, Pat Phelan, Seth Sinovic, Chris Tierney, Marko Perovi?, Joseph Niouky, Zak Boggs( Khano Smith 70), Kheli Dube (Zack Schilawski 70), Sainey Nyassi
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, Kenny Mansally, Nico Colaluca
STATS: Shots: 11;Shots on Goal: 4; Saves: 6; Corner Kicks: 8; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 13
San Jose Earthquakes: Joe Cannon (GK), Chris Leitch, Bobby Burling, Jason Hernandez, Ramiro Charles, Joey Gjersten, Andre Luiz, Brandon McDonald, Bobby Convey, Ryan Johnson, Chris Wondolowski (Cornell Glen 83)
Substitutes Not Used: Jon Busch, Brad Ring, Ramon Sanchez, Scott Sealy, Justin Morrow, Omar Jasseh
STATS: Shots: 13; Shots on Goal: 6; Saves: 4; Corner Kicks: 7; Offside: 3; Fouls Committed: 12
SJ – Ramiro Carrales (caution) 20
NE – Joseph Niouky (caution) 39
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee’s Assistants: Sean Hurd, Greg Barkey
Fourth Official: Niko Bratsis
Weather: Sunny and 69 degrees
- The draw puts the Revolution’s all-time record against the San Jose Earthquakes at 11-17-5, the first draw between the two clubs since the clubs played to a tie at Gillette Stadium in 2005 … additionally, the revs are now 6-9-2 when playing the Earthquakes in Foxborough.
- New England was again shut out by a Western conference team on Saturday, the fourth time it has happened in 2010.
- The Revs played to a scoreless tie for the first time since a 0-0 draw against the Chicago Fire on Oct. 17, 2009.
- Defender Darrius Barnes missed his second game of the year and first since he returned to the starting lineup in the first match with San Jose on April 17.
- Pat Phelan made his first career MLS start at central defense, filling in for the injured Darrius Barnes.
- Joseph Niouky picked up his fourth yellow card of the season in the first half … if Niouky picks up his fifth within the next three games, he will be suspended for one match.
- Niouky registered his first shot on goal of his MLS career in the second half, a 35-yard offering that clanged off the post.
- Preston Burpo recorded his second clean sheet of the season.
- The Revolution held Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski without a goal for the first time since April 10 … his streak of four consecutive games with a goal began April 17 against the Revolution.
- New England became the first Eastern Conference team to play San Jose and not lose this season … heading into the game, the Earthquakes were 3-0-0 against Eastern Conference clubs.