FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Losses are never easy to swallow. They’re even tougher still when the players and coaches feel as if the effort and performance put forth was worthy of something more.
That was the overarching feeling in the New England Revolution locker room on Saturday night, shortly after the Revs dropped a 2-1 decision to the visiting Colorado Rapids at Gillette Stadium.
“I don’t think we deserved to lose the game,” said head coach Steve Nicol. “I thought we deserved to get a point out of the game … we weren’t great. We put the effort in. Again, I don’t think we deserved to get beat, but we certainly need to get better.”
New England goalkeeper Preston Burpo – who was acquired from the Rapids in an offseason trade – agreed that a draw would’ve been a fair result based on the run of play.
“I think if we came out of here with a point, I think you could say we deserved it,” said Burpo. “We tested them a little bit in the back. But with that said, give Colorado credit. They played well tonight; they actually tried to play on the road which, to be honest, is quite a shock because they never do.”
The Revolution outshot the Rapids by a margin of 13-10 through 90 minutes – including 8-3 in the second half – but long-range goals from Mehdi Ballouchy and Pablo Mastroeni were enough for Colorado to earn its second straight victory and at least temporarily move into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference.
Marko Perovic scored his first goal for New England when he curled home a stunning 30-yard free kick in the 18th minute, but despite creating a series of chances later in the match, the Revs were unable to find an equalizer. As a result, they fell to their second consecutive defeat.
“I watched the game for the last 30 minutes or so when I got subbed off, and I was sitting there thinking to myself that we’re at least going to get a tie,” said forward Zack Schilawski, who was replaced by Edgaras Jankauskas in the 62nd minute. “Then five minutes later Pablo put one in on us. I thought the run of play was pretty even. I wasn’t expecting them to get anything more on us. I thought the goal they did score was kind of a weird play. Other than that, I thought our back four was really strong. I didn’t see them breaking us down.”
The Revs were once again plagued by a slow start, and they were punished when Ballouchy opened the scoring in the 14th minute. It was the fourth time in five games this season in which the Revolution has conceded the first goal.
“Up until we equalized, they definitely controlled the game,” said Nicol. “There’s no question about that. But after that, there really wasn’t much in it.
“We’re the home team, so we’ve got to try to pressure them in the second half,” he continued. “I think we pressured them; we just didn’t produce some real quality chances in the second half, which was the one thing that was missing.”
While the Revs struggled to create quality scoring chances after the halftime break, the opportunities they did generate earlier in the match lacked the lethal finish.
“They were good, but at the same time I thought the way they played opened it up for us a little bit and I thought we got our fair share of chances,” said Schilawski. “Sometimes you just can’t put them in.”
Schilawski’s strike partner for the first 62 minutes of the match, Kheli Dube, agreed that it was a frustrating night in the attacking third of the field.
“It just seems it wasn’t our day,” he said. “We can just look at the positives we [had] today. We got a good set-piece goal today and I think we defended well on set pieces. So we’re just going to try to get going this week again at training and try to get a win next weekend (against FC Dallas).”