WASHINGTON, D.C. – Despite unleashing a season-high 28 shots – easily eclipsing the previous mark of 20 – the New England Revolution was officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 2-1 loss to D.C. United on Saturday night at RFK Stadium.
United goalkeeper Bill Hamid made five saves, including a pair of remarkable stops on Kelyn Rowe and Benny Feilhaber in the closing stages to preserve the victory for the home side. Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis also made five saves.
Rowe scored his third goal of the season to give the Revs (7-15-7, 28 pts.) a short-lived lead in the 29th minute, but Chris Pontius hit back just three minutes later to pull D.C. (13-10-5, 44 pts.) level. Pontius then set up second-half substitute Lewis Neal’s game winner in the 63rd minute as United swept the three-game season series with the Revs.
There was one change to the Revolution lineup which claimed a 2-0 victory over the Columbus Crew last week at Gillette Stadium as Jerry Bengtson returned from international duty to replace Dimitry Imbongo, while Juan Toja made the bench for the first time since returning to MLS.
After a quiet opening, Rowe put the Revs in front with one of the game’s first real chances in the 29th minute. Diego Fagundez created the opportunity with a perfectly-weighted through ball to spring Rowe into the right side of the box, where the rookie drilled a deflected shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the back of the net.
United responded in short order, however, drawing level at 1-1 just three minutes later. Branko Boskovic did much of the work with a lengthy run through midfield before his clever back-heel teed up Pontius, who notched his team-leading 11th goal of the season with a rocket into the lower left corner from 25 yards.
Both sides had chances to grab the lead before the halftime break – Lee Nguyen and Kevin Alston went narrowly wide for the Revs, while Andy Najar forced a smart save with a 30-yard rocket for United – but the teams ultimately went to the locker rooms on level terms.
Reis kept it that way in the 61st minute with a remarkable save on Maicon Santos – sprawling low to his right to stop a one-on-one chance – but he couldn’t prevent Neal from pushing the hosts ahead in the 63rd minute. Pontius played provider on this occasion, working his way into the box before finding Neal, who placed a first-time shot inside the right post.
In search of an equalizer the Revs brought on Feilhaber and Toja in the 73rd minute, and the moves almost paid dividends six minutes later. Feilhaber was on the end of a short free kick and let fly from distance, but his drive flew inches wide of the near post.
Toja got in on the act in the 85th minute when his delicate chip sent Rowe into the box, but Hamid charged off his line to make a crucial save. The D.C. goalkeeper came up big again just moments later, denying Feilhaber from close range as the hosts clung to the one-goal victory.
The Revs return home next weekend for another Eastern Conference showdown with the New York Red Bulls, who’ll visit Gillette Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 22.
New England Revolution at D.C. United
September 15, 2012 – RFK Stadium (Washington, D.C.)
D.C. United 2, New England Revolution 1
NE – Kelyn Rowe (Diego Fagundez) 29
DC – Chris Pontius (Branko Boskovic) 32
DC – Lewis Neal (Chris Pontius) 63
New England Revolution: Matt Reis ©, Kevin Alston, Darrius Barnes, Stephen McCarthy, Flo Lechner (Juan Toja 73), Lee Nguyen, Clyde Simms, Ryan Guy, Kelyn Rowe, Diego Fagundez (Benny Feilhaber 73), Jerry Bengtson (Dimitry Imbongo 61)
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Shuttleworth, A.J. Soares, Fernando Cardenas
STATS: Shots 28, Shots on Target 6, Corner Kicks 11, Saves 5, Fouls 14, Offsides 2, Passes (percentage) 313 (75.7%), Possession 52.7%
D.C. United: Bill Hamid, Chris Korb, Dejan Jakovic, Brandon McDonald, Andy Najar, Chris Pontius ©, Perry Kitchen, Branko Boskovic (Lewis Neal 56), Nick DeLeon, Lionard Pajoy (Robbie Russell 83), Maicon Santos (Hamdi Salihi 67)
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Willis, Raphael Augusto, Emiliano Dudar, Long Tan
STATS: Shots 12, Shots on Target 7, Corner Kicks 8, Saves 5, Fouls 17, Offsides 4, Passes (percentage) 282 (69.1%), Possession 47.3%
* Note that all statistics are unofficial
DC – Chris Korb (caution) 54
DC – Maicon Santos (caution) 64
NE – Clyde Simms (caution) 65
DC – Lionard Pajoy (caution) 77
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistant Referees: Eric Boria, Adam Wienckowski
Fourth Official: John McCloskey
Weather: Clear and 75 degrees
New England Revolution: 7-15-7 (28 pts.)
D.C. United: 13-10-5 (44 pts.)
- This was the 66th overall meeting between the two teams, including U.S. Open Cup and MLS Cup Playoff matches … the Revs have played no other team more than they have D.C.
- With the loss, the Revs fell to 23-28-8 all-time in MLS regular-season action against D.C. United
- It was also the Revs’ third-straight loss to D.C. this season – all by one goal – as United swept the teams’ three-game season series
- Tonight’s match was the ninth one-goal game between the clubs in the last 11 matches between the two teams
- Tonight’s loss was also the team’s 14th one-goal loss this season … only one of the team’s losses – a 3-0 loss at Kansas City on March 17 – was by more than one goal this season
- The loss also snapped the Revs’ modest three-game unbeaten run … the Revs entered tonight’s game with a 1-0-2 mark in their last three games, all at home
- In the last 12 games, New England is 1-8-3 overall
- The Revs now sit 1-11-2 in MLS away games this season
- The team’s 28 shots marked a new season high … previously, the Revs’ season high in shots was 20, which they did twice previously this year: May 26 at D.C. and in their last game – Sept. 5 vs, Columbus
- Kelyn Rowe scored his third goal of the season with his 29th minute strike … it was his first goal since June 2 when he scored against Chicago at Gillette Stadium
- Diego Fagundez recorded his second assist of the season when he fed Kelyn Rowe for the game’s first goal
- Diego Fagundez’s assist on Kelyn Rowe’s goal was his second assist in as many games … he also recorded an assist on Dimity Imbongo’s goal in the team’s last outing, a 2-0 win over Columbus on Sept. 5.
- Chris Pontius’ 32nd-minute goal snapped the Revs’ 255-minute shutout streak that dated back to Aug. 29 in a 3-3 draw against Chivas USA at home
- Prior to Chris Pontius’ 32nd-minute goal, the last goal the Revs’ defense allowed was in the 47th-minute against Chivas USA, and then the team posted back-to-back shutouts against Philadelphia (Sept. 1) and Columbus (Sept. 5)
- Juan Toja made his Revolution debut when he checked into the game in the 73rd minute … it was Toja’s first MLS appearance since July 19, 2008 when he was with FC Dallas
- With 90 minutes played, Matt Reis moved in to fourth place on the MLS career (goalkeeper) minutes played chart … Reis now has 24,941 career minutes played, passing Zach Thornton who had 24,935
- Matt Reis also moved into a fourth-place tie with Zach Thornton on the MLS career (goalkeepers) starts list with 276 starts
- Tonight’s match featured MLS’ two youngest head coaches in New England’s Jay Heaps and D.C.’s Ben Olsen
- Chris Tierney, who traveled with the team despite suffering a left knee sprain at the very end of the Revs’ training session on Friday, did not dress for tonight’s game and sat on the bench in street clothes