(Steven Milne/Associated Press)
Revolution are quick to take advantage
(Steven Milne/Associated Press)
FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution can credit their 2-1 win over D.C. United yesterday as much to being lucky as being good. But, for the second successive game, the Revolution’s aggressive start set the tone and put them in position to capitalize on breaks.
As they did in a 1-1 tie at Los Angeles in their season opener a week ago, the Revolution (1-0-1) benefited from controversial refereeing calls, which led to Zack Schilawski and Shalrie Joseph scoring early goals before 12,914 fans at Gillette Stadium.
The combination of poor D.C. defending and referee Baldomero Toledo’s failure to detect a handball led to the opening goal.
Joseph set up the score, launching the ball from the halfway line in front of the team benches. Schilawski ran between three defenders, appearing to control the ball as it bounced up to his left arm. Schilawski’s shot was blocked by Marc Burch, but the Revolution forward sent the rebound past goalkeeper Pat Onstad.
“I think we probably got away with one there,’’ Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. “Most people in the ground saw what happened.’’
Said Schilawski, “I just tried to get it down and get a shot on goal as quick as possible and, luckily, the ball bounced back and I got a second chance at it.’’
United (1-1-0) protested the call that led to the second goal, Pat Phelan earning a penalty kick as he challenged a Dax McCarty clearance attempt. After Onstad was cautioned for dissent, Joseph sent a shot off Onstad’s left hand for the ninth successful penalty of his career, tying the team record set by Steve Ralston.
“On the second one, Pat’s being positive and attacked the ball, got there slightly ahead of the guy, and he just straight-forward kicked him,’’ Nicol said. “We should have had another penalty probably 10 minutes later, Sainey Nyassi got in ahead of their guy. But referees, [after] giving one, are always hesitant to give another.’’
The Revolution took control with physical, hard-charging play. United adjusted, matching the Revolution midfield with a 3-5-2 alignment in the second half. But it was too late.
During added time, United’s Charlie Davies converted a penalty kick, following another controversial call. United defender Dejan Jakovic was then red-carded after what appeared to be a mild clash with Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis and defender Ryan Cochrane.
“With us pushing the tempo, and with us being at home, we wanted to take the game to them,’’ Joseph said. “You’ve just got to stay positive and stay with it.
“It broke for us; some nights it won’t. If we keep doing the right stuff, I think it will break for us. We’ll keep getting chances and keep scoring.
“Zack got it started off with a great goal, and from that we just kept pushing and pushing. That helped us settle down a little.
“It was a little helter-skelter for part of the game. We were losing possession too easy. But the most important thing is we got a win and we can move forward from there.’’
After the successful start, though, the Revolution had to be resilient. Two players went out with injuries: midfielder Zak Boggs absorbed an elbow to the head from Rodrigo Brasesco and was replaced by Kheli Dube in the 32d minute, and defender Franco Coria appeared to strain a left leg muscle and was substituted for by Cochrane in the 47th minute.
United threatened in the second half. Chris Pontius’s header was cleared off the line by Kevin Alston (55th minute), then Pontius shot high (66th), and had a drive saved by Reis (83d).
“We got ourselves ahead because we were pushing,’’ Nicol said. “We wanted to keep pushing and try and kill the game. But, human nature, you know, when you get something, you don’t want to lose it. You sometimes kind of back off, but you certainly don’t want to do that.
“Conditions were pretty tough to play in. The wind playing havoc with the ball makes it difficult to connect your passes.
“But, obviously, we won the game and we’re happy with that.
“Losing the penalty right to the death, you’re always wondering if something’s going to go wrong until the last kick of the ball.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.