An upsetting trend: Goals hard to come by for Revolution
Didier Domi joined the Revolution this season after a long European career, and was expected to provide veteran leadership and composure on the ball. And Domi has exhibited both qualities — except for a brief loss of control as he was cautioned for arguing in the Revolution’s 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
Domi admits he was so caught up in the moment he did not realize Revolution midfielder Pat Phelan had been red-carded, causing the team to conclude the game with nine players. But Domi also refused to blame the officiating for the Revolution’s failings. New England’s lack of a passing game has contributed to a scoring drought — one goal in the last 248 minutes of play, squandering the lead in a tie with Portland (1-1) and rallying for an added-time goal at Vancouver (1-1) before the loss to Real Salt Lake.
“We beat ourselves,’’ Domi said after the game. “It’s like Vancouver — at halftime we said we have to go for it.’’
But the Revolution’s impatience and inability to create caused them to squander a two-man advantage for much of the second half against the Whitecaps last week. Then, playing at home against a Real Salt Lake team filled with reserves, the Revolution lost control of the game early, then lost their cool and had Phelan and captain Shalrie Joseph ejected in the second half. Both will be suspended for the Revolution’s visit to Houston Sunday.
“We have the quality to win,’’ Domi said. “It’s just the way we enter the pitch. We have to have more confidence. Because we can do it. It’s up to us.’’
The Revolution have started games strongly, and did not trail until the second half of the fourth game. But, instead of concentrating on possession, the Revolution have displayed a chaotic approach to attack. The return from injury of Marko Perovic was expected to change the midfield dynamic. And the addition of Danish striker Rajko Lekic, who will join the team this week, should help the attack. But an even more important addition could be midfielder Ousmane Dabo, who has been out since straining a calf in his second practice session last month.
“We are good in the midfield, we still have Big Mac [Stephen McCarthy] and Ousmane will add experience,’’ Domi said.
The result against Real Salt Lake should be a wake-up call for the Revolution (1-1-3, 6 points), who had been resourceful enough to remain unbeaten in the opening four games. Coach Steve Nicol had hoped to emphasize the team’s passing game, a quality that had deteriorated in recent seasons. But so far the Revolution have shown they either do not have the ability to follow through on this strategy or they are lacking the necessary resolve.
Dabo and Lekic would add some of the qualities the Revolution are lacking. And, the team is hoping to add a high-profile foreign attacking player after the European season concludes.
“It will improve,’’ Domi said. “We have to have more confidence — because we have quality on this team, but sometimes we are afraid to play more. And when we realize it, it’s too late — like [Saturday night].’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.