FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The chaotic final five minutes of Saturday night’s 2-2 draw with Orlando City SC was, in many ways, a microcosm of the New England Revolution’s 2016 campaign thus far.
After conceding a 90th-minute equalizer when London Woodberry’s attempted clearance deflected off the foot of Orlando forward Carlos Rivas and inside the near post, the Revs generated two golden opportunities to punch through a late winner only to see their efforts fall short.
Juan Agudelo, who’d given the Revs the lead with his first touch of the game after coming on as a 70th-minute substitute, had a powerful header crash off the crossbar, while Donnie Smith – playing as a makeshift forward because a hamstring injury limited his mobility after the Revs had made their final substitution – had a close-range effort palmed away by OCSC goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
Disappointed to have conceded a late lead and doubly frustrated at their inability to finish off a pair of late chances, the Revs were left to settle for their seventh draw through the season’s first 10 games.
“No one’s happy that we’re tying these games when we should win,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “Tonight, we really wanted these three points. You could tell by the energy of the guys, right from the beginning and the opening whistle, was a team that really wanted these three points.”
New England’s intent was clear from the opening stages. Diego Fagundez registered the game’s first shot after just 22 seconds and broke through for the first goal after seven minutes, finishing off a clever exchange with Lee Nguyen inside the box.
But the visitors pulled level on the half-hour mark when both Andrew Farrell and Je-Vaughn Watson attacked a lofted ball into the box, leaving Kevin Molino free at the back post for a simple finish.
It was a continuation of a recent issue as the Revs have struggled to deal with crosses, and it was on display once again in the 90th minute when Rivas was on hand to force home a right-wing cross.
“Collectively, we have to be better on crossed balls,” said Heaps. “I think that’s been a little bit of an Achilles heel for us at times, because we do it really well for three or four weeks and then we have a letdown defensively.
“In terms of danger, they’re not that dangerous. They’re floated balls and we should be dealing with the first one a little bit better, and we didn’t.”
With just seven points from five home games the Revs have been frustrated by their inability to close teams out in Foxborough, and now they’ll face a tall task next weekend at StubHub Center, where the LA Galaxy are 3-0-1 on the young season.
“It’s a frustrating one,” Fagundez said about Saturday night’s draw. “Not the way we wanted to end, of course. We were fighting all the way to the end and we let it slip in the last minute.
“We just have to keep focusing on trying to finish games out.”