SANTA CLARA, Calif. – For extended portions of Saturday night’s meeting with the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium, the New England Revolution put together the kind of performance which more often than not earns results on the road.
The Revs were solid defensively from the outset and slowly worked themselves into the game as the first half progressed, combining well in possession and carving out a few decent scoring chances. Legitimate shouts for a first-half penalty were waved away as Chris Tierney went down in the box in the 37th minute, and New England felt confident with its showing entering the halftime break.
But a pair of lapses late in the second half resulted in goals from Ellis McLoughlin and Bobby Convey, and despite Tierney’s 86th-minute strike as part of a frantic fight-back, the Revs ultimately suffered a 2-1 loss and remained winless (0-3-2) on the road in 2011.
“We certainly didn’t deserve to lose the game,” said head coach Steve Nicol, who was able to name an unchanged starting lineup for the first time this season. “The bottom line is that we made two mistakes and they cost us two goals. We’re disappointed. We had a decent amount of the ball tonight, but we would have liked to create more chances.”
Tierney agreed that the Revolution’s performance warranted a better outcome and similarly rued the breakdowns which led to San Jose’s goals.
“I thought we had the better of the first 60 minutes, especially the first half,” he said. “We dominated the game, but didn’t come out as strong in the second half. It seemed like there was a miscommunication on their first goal, and things just fell apart after that.”
That miscommunication allowed McLoughlin time and space to line up a free header at the back post, which he buried back across the face of goal and inside the right post in the 71st minute. San Jose doubled its lead in bizarre fashion 12 minutes later, when Convey’s searching free kick from the right wing sailed off the post and into the upper left corner.
Although Tierney pulled one back with his second career goal in the dying stages, it wasn’t enough as the Revs were left to lament a missed opportunity.
“We were missing that final pass, that last little piece of creativity up top,” said Tierney. “It’s the same thing that’s been hurting us for a while. We just didn’t find it. If you don’t score goals in this league, you’re not going to win. We have to capitalize better on our possession.”