FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It took very few words for New England Revolution head coach Jay Heaps to succinctly sum up his side’s collective feelings following Saturday afternoon’s 0-0 draw with Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
“In the end, I was happy about how we played defensively, but we have to be better offensively,” he said.
After conceding five goals through the season’s first two matches, Saturday’s clean sheet was a clear positive for the Revs to take from their home opener. Heaps was particularly pleased with his backline and holding midfielder Andy Dorman, who combined to help limit the Whitecaps to just two relatively harmless shots on target.
New England’s early-season struggles in the attacking third continued, however, as the club was shut out for a third straight time despite generating 17 shots. But of those 17 shots, seven were blocked and only three were on target, including a fifth-minute header from Dorman which Vancouver goalkeeper David Ousted clawed away acrobatically.
“When we look at this, we’re going to take away a good, solid performance defensively from top to bottom,” said Heaps. “They didn’t have a ton of chances, and that’s always good. I think when we had our shutout streak last year when we did well, the other team wasn’t getting a ton of chances and we limited them today. We just have to be more clinical on our chances.”
Frustration is understandably mounting, but there’s no doubt a confidence within the club that the goals will eventually come for a side which hit the back of the net 49 times last season. Diego Fagundez – who tallied a game-high five shots on Saturday – spoke of “breaking the ice” and the momentum that will build once the goals finally start to flow.
For now, the Revs will cling to Saturday’s solid defensive performance and the glut of chances created as they turn their attention to next weekend’s visit to the San Jose Earthquakes, where they’ll once again go in search of their first goal and win of 2014.
“We created a lot of chances in the first half and couldn’t put them in, but I think it’s a good start,” said captain Jose Goncalves. “We get one point and our confidence back, and move on to the next game.”