FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Prior to Saturday night’s meeting with the defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids, New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol identified a physical approach and improvement in possession as his side’s areas of focus.
Nicol received both in spades, but an inability to convert their possession into goals doomed the Revs in a scoreless draw with the visiting Rapids.
“We didn’t create enough with the bit of the ball we had in their final third,” said Nicol. “That’s disappointing. We have to do better. We’re not going to win games unless we do better with the ball in the final third.”
According to Nicol, the Revs will be searching for a creative attacking player in the summer transfer window as they aim to increase their potency going forward. But in the meantime, they’ll need to build upon the positives which they can take from Saturday night’s performance.
Twice the Revs came inches from finding that elusive goal, with both Ryan Cochrane (15th minute) and Benny Feilhaber (74th minute) hitting the woodwork. Shalrie Joseph had perhaps the game’s best scoring chance in the 57th minute when he had a free header from six yards out, but his powerful effort was palmed away by Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens.
“We created chances and we worked on trying to keep our patience and pass the ball a lot better,” said Chris Tierney, who started at left back in place of the injured Didier Domi (L quad strain). “I think the chances tonight were a result of that and I think a slice of luck, a bounce here or there, and we would’ve gotten three points.
“But in games like this you have to take the positives,” he continued. “We definitely created enough chances to win the game. So we’ll take that and we’ll move on to the next one.”
Perhaps the biggest takeaway for the Revs was their defensive performance, as they limited the Rapids to just one shot on target – a 30-yard effort from Andre Akpan in the 32nd minute – en route to their first shutout of the season.
“We did our job tonight for the first time this year,” said Cochrane. “We’re pretty pleased with that. I think if we get more (possession games), then the defenders will be happy.”
The Revs will hope to replicate their defensive effort next weekend when they play their second straight home game against the expansion Vancouver Whitecaps, while improving their effectiveness in the final third.
“I think tonight was probably the best possession performance we’ve had all year,” said Cochrane. “To go from a really flat game we had (at Chivas USA) last week to this, it’s a step forward. We want three points, but hopefully next week we get them.”