FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Saturday night’s meeting with Atlanta United FC played out according to the New England Revolution’s script, minus one critical detail.
While the Revs were solid defensively – handing the high-powered Atlanta attack their first shutout since late August – they failed to turn any of their 14 shots into the goal they needed to give their postseason chances a major boost, finishing deadlocked in a 0-0 draw.
“I thought our game plan was perfect,” said Lee Nguyen, who had an 87th-minute free kick pushed off the crossbar by Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan. “We went out there, had the better part of the first half; we just couldn’t find the back of the net.
“Same thing in the second half; we created a lot of good chances towards the end there and unfortunately we couldn’t get any to fall in.”
Knowing three points were a must, interim head coach Tom Soehn went for broke in the late stages, going to three at the back with Nguyen, Kei Kamara, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury and Krisztián Németh all on the field pressing for a dramatic winner.
It wasn’t to be, however, as Atlanta ultimately kept their sixth clean sheet in their last seven games.
“Obviously we went very attacking minded, so I kept a couple defenders right by me in case we did get the goal and we’d go back to four in the back,” said Soehn. “But we were going to do everything we could to win the game.”
The draw is a dent to New England’s slim playoff hopes, but the New York Red Bulls’ loss in Toronto keeps the Revolution mathematically alive heading into October, and now they’ll need to continue hoping for a lot of help and a pair of wins against New York City FC and the Montreal Impact.
“We’ve got to win these next two games and hopefully the chips fall in line for us,” said Brad Knighton, who made two saves in his first clean sheet of the season. “[The draw is] something to build on, but we’ve got to continue to move forward.”