FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A second-half fightback earned the New England Revolution a 2-2 draw with old rival D.C. United on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, but the hosts were nevertheless frustrated to drop points at home for the second time in four nights.
“We expected more; we expected to win here in front of our home fans,” said Antonio Delamea, one of two Revolution players – along with Andrew Farrell – to have played every minute this season. “But in the end, we didn’t give enough energy to get the right result.”
The Revs started brightly and were rewarded with the game’s opening goal in just the fifth minute, Lee Nguyen nodding home Kei Kamara’s right-wing cross at the back post. They registered four more shots in the opening 25 minutes, but failed to extend their lead over the vulnerable visitors.
That proved costly, as D.C. turned the game on its head with a pair of goals just two minutes apart midway through first half, capitalizing on a set piece and a counterattack.
“Coming in, we thought the two things that would hurt us would be the counterattack and set pieces,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “Unfortunately, you can prepare for it and you can go out and work on it, but when the game’s on the line, you’ve got to be prepared to do it.
“Unfortunately, our set piece defending tonight wasn’t good enough. Don’t get me wrong; we had chances, too. It’s just got to be better there.”
“If you’re not 100 percent in the game like we were in the first half, they punished our stupid mistakes,” added Delamea.
Heaps had what he sardonically called a “nice conversation” with the players at halftime – “Just to really see what we’re made of,” he said – and the Revs responded, equalizing in the 49th minute through a Sean Franklin own goal, although Juan Agudelo claims he got the final touch before the ball crossed the line.
“The second half was great energy, great effort,” Heaps said. “We knew we were going to get one back. We felt like we’d get one back and then really pushed for the last one up until the last minute. Then we gave them one chance at the end, too. It could’ve been 4-4.”
Regardless of the final score-line, a draw was likely the fairest result, and after taking just two points from their stretch of three games in eight days, the Revs must now turn their attention to next weekend’s cross-country trip to visit Seattle Sounders FC.
“Now, in our heads, it’s only Seattle,” said Delamea. “It will be, I think, an even harder game than today, so we need to start focusing on them.”