FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – In the buildup to Saturday night’s game against the league-leading LA Galaxy, New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol emphasized the importance of limiting the space provided to the influential duo of David Beckham and Landon Donovan.
While the Revs accomplished the task at hand for 89 minutes, Beckham was given ample room on the right wing on one occasion and he delivered an inch-perfect cross to Miguel Lopez to head home the only goal of the game midway through the second half as LA claimed a 1-0 win.
“He’s tough to deal with and there’s a reason he’s played at the highest level in Europe,” Chris Tierney said of Beckham. “He’s a great player and you saw what happens when you give him too much space. He whips in the ball and we’re down one-nil.”
The result was perhaps a bit harsh on the Revs, who started brightly and could’ve taken the lead just two minutes into the contest. Benny Feilhaber’s left-wing cross was perfectly placed into the path of Zak Boggs as he surged into the box, but the second-year midfielder was hassled just enough by his defender to force his shot over the crossbar.
While the Revolution rode Shalrie Joseph’s early goal to a 1-1 draw against the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center in the season opener on March 20, the club was narrowly unable to replicate that fast start on Saturday night.
“I think we started really well,” said Tierney. “We had a good chance through Boggs to start the game and I think that if we had just snuck that early goal it would’ve been a different game. Unfortunately, it didn’t fall for us.
“But we created more chances against the best squad in the league than we had all year,” Tierney added. “I guess we can take that, but it still hurts.”
New England has consistently found positives in recent performances despite mixed results, but Nicol knows that eventually the performances need to translate to something more.
“When it gets to that critical point, we’re just not getting it done,” he said. “Tonight, we had three great chances, we just didn’t quite get it done. That kind of sums up a lot of the stuff we’re doing. Sometimes we look pretty good, but we just don’t get it done.
“We’re just a little bit away,” Nicol added. “But it’s no good being a little bit away and losing games. We need to pick up points.”