WASHINGTON, D.C. – “We’re disappointed in the result, but I’m not disappointed in the effort of the group.”
Those were Bruce Arena’s opening postgame comments following Friday night’s 2-2 draw with D.C. United, and they succinctly captured the general sentiment in a New England Revolution locker room that was experiencing plenty of mixed emotions.
On the one hand, New England were frustrated to settle for just a point after racing out to a 2-0 lead inside 35 minutes – courtesy of another goal from red-hot Teal Bunbury and Carles Gil’s team-leading fifth of the season – only to see that lead slip away in the late stages.
But on the other hand, the Revs secured a road point to extend their MLS-best unbeaten run to eight games (4-0-4), climbed above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference, and did so while playing with 10 men for the final 30 minutes. Not to mention the fact that they’d landed in the Washington, D.C., area only six hours before kickoff because of travel issues related to a line of East Coast thunderstorms.
“Obviously coming out with a point in a tough place against one of the better teams in the East is a good result, especially after what we’ve been through,” said Andrew Farrell. “But obviously we wish we’d had three.”
The “what we’ve been through” that Farrell referenced was a significant travel headache for the Revs, whose plans to arrive in D.C. early Thursday evening were foiled by severe weather up and down the East Coast, shutting down all air travel in the area.
New England spent Thursday night in Providence, R.I., then chartered to D.C. on Friday morning, touching down at 1 p.m. ahead of their 7 p.m. kickoff at Audi Field.
Although reticent to use it as an excuse, Juan Agudelo couldn’t help but think the day-of-game travel played something of a role as the Revs conceded in the 43rd and 86th minutes – moments of the match when mentality perhaps plays its biggest role.
“I think it was underestimated, the situation us players were in,” Agudelo said. “I mean, this stuff happens. It didn’t look like it affected us at the beginning of the game, but towards the end of the halves, obviously we gave up some goals. Most of it was mentally. We fix that and we could’ve climbed the table a bit today.”
“If we’re at fault for anything, we need to do a little bit better at the end of both halves,” added Arena. “If we do that, we walk away with a win today. But having said that, a lot of issues there that we had to overcome, so we hung in there and got a point.”
Arena felt one of those issues the Revs had to overcome was the officiating – particularly as Wilfried Zahibo was sent off after receiving a second yellow shortly after the hour-mark – but despite all those obstacles, his Revolution side heads into Wednesday night’s home meeting with the Vancouver Whitecaps riding their longest unbeaten run since 2015.
“Obviously frustrating,” Farrell said of conceding late against D.C. for the second time in less than two months. “But we come away with a point and we get ready for Vancouver on Wednesday.”