WASHINGTON – Trailing 1-0 at halftime of Saturday night’s meeting with D.C. United, there was plenty of time for the New England Revolution to find an equalizer, and perhaps even a winner. In fact, the Revs had done just that in both of their past two meetings with United – erasing halftime deficits en route to a pair of 2-1 victories.
But patience eluded the Revs on this occasion and a sense of urgency crept in shortly after the halftime break, and according to head coach Jay Heaps, it resulted in the Revs unnecessarily resorting to a direct approach.
“In the second half I was a little bit disappointed in how we played in terms of the directness,” Heaps said. “I think we could’ve been a little bit better trying to probe. I think we risked it a little too early. We went after it right at the start of the second half. They did a good job defending, but we weren’t creative enough.”
An uncharacteristic mistake from Jose Goncalves put the Revs in their halftime hole as the reigning MLS Defender of the Year misplayed a cross and turned his attempted clearance into the back of his own net, but Heaps still felt the Revs were in position to claim a result after showing flashes of quality in the first half.
“It happens,” Heaps said of the own goal. “It’s unfortunate, but I thought we rallied pretty well around it and we had the right attitude … I thought we went a little direct too soon and unfortunately it played into their hands.”
Heaps attempted to change the calculus for the final half hour, sending on former D.C. United forward Charlie Davies in place of Saer Sene in the 60th minute. The move shifted Teal Bunbury wide to the left – where Heaps hoped the striker could find a bit more space – while Davies added another speed element up top.
The shift showed promise at times, but ultimately it wasn’t enough for the Revs to climb back into the contest.
“At times, maybe at the beginning of the second half, we were forcing it a little too much,” said Bunbury. “We have to learn to just kind of calm the game down and know that it’s not a panic situation. Because when it comes to that, it’s easy for other teams to defend if we’re just kicking the ball long.”
It’s a lesson for the young Revs to take with them moving forward, beginning with next weekend’s early-season rematch with the Houston Dynamo. That match will be at Gillette Stadium, where the Revs have played just once through their first five games as part of a grueling start to the season.
“Our focus now has to be our next home game,” said Bunbury. “We really have to be mentally prepared, because this next home game is going to be huge for us. We need to get three points. We know our fans are going to be amazing and that’s our main focus.”