Changes are all for knot
Revolution’s moves can’t prevent a scoreless tie
FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution midfield has been upgraded since Ousmane Dabo has recovered from injury and Benny Feilhaber arrived from Denmark. But coach Steve Nicol said the team needs even more attacking options after last night’s 0-0 tie with the Colorado Rapids.
This was the second straight scoreless game and fourth of the season for the Revolution (2-3-4, 10 points), but the team actually delivered a much better offensive performance than a week ago, in a 3-0 loss to Chivas USA. The Revolution had several excellent chances — they twice hit the crossbar, captain Shalrie Joseph had an unmarked header saved, and a Sainey Nyassi cross in added time was smothered with Rajko Lekic unmarked at the back post.
“The disappointing thing is the amount of possession we had and the amount of balls we had, and we just lacked that imagination in the final third,’’ Nicol said. “Saying that, we’ve had three good chances. But, at the same time, we didn’t create enough with the amount of balls we had and we’re not going to win games unless we do better in the final third.’’
Help could be on the way, but not before the Revolution host Vancouver next Saturday.
“We need to go and sign someone who is creative, in the next transfer window [in June],’’ Nicol said. “It’s something we are trying to do, something we are working on — we need to be more creative in the midfield. We didn’t give anything up and we passed it [last night] but we’re lacking creativity.’’
The Revolution controlled the tempo for much of the match against the Rapids (4-3-2, 14 points), who concluded a two-game, four-day road trip.
Dabo provided a point of reference, distributing the ball accurately and quickly in his MLS debut. The Revolution started in a 4-3-3 alignment that often functioned as a 4-5-1, Lekic the lone striker. The Revolution displayed one of their best possession games of the season and earned their first shutout. The Rapids were playing without starting forwards Conor Casey and Omar Cummings, then lost Caleb Folan (groin) in the first half.
In the opening half, the Revolution failed to produce chances in the run of play, but Ryan Cochrane did head the ball off the top of the bar in the 15th minute. The Revolution added Nyassi on the right wing after halftime, and were on the verge of breaking the tie early in the second half.
Joseph was left unmarked on a Kenny Mansally corner kick in the 57th minute, but his header was knocked away by goalkeeper Matt Pickens, who then stopped a low cross from Feilhaber.
“Next time I’ll try to head it and bounce it on the ground,’’ Joseph said. “I’ve just got to put that away. You get half a chance in this league you’ve just got to make the best of it.’’
Then, Feilhaber hit the underside of the crossbar in the 76th minute. Feilhaber started the sequence, finding Nyassi on the right wing. Nyassi took a touch toward the end line, then returned the ball to Feilhaber.
“I hit it the way I wanted to hit it,’’ Feilhaber said. “I tried to kick it with the outside of my foot, just redirect it, really, and I did exactly what I wanted to do. I put it on the opposite side of the goalie — the goalie didn’t even move, there was no chance he could get to it. The ball just didn’t dip. I thought for sure it was going to dip but these balls kind of sail a little bit and it never kind of came down and it hit the crossbar, unfortunately.’’
Joseph then had a chance off a Mansally half volley, but failed to connect at the back post in the 81st minute. Then, in the third minute of injury time, Nyassi broke in on Pickens near the goal area. But Nyassi hesitated just long enough for Tyrone Marshall to recover and stop his low cross.
“We passed the ball a lot better, we created chances, we worked on trying to keep our patience and pass the ball around a little more,’’ said the Revolution’s Chris Tierney, who started at left back in place of Didier Domi (quadriceps). “And the chances were a result of that. A slice of luck, a bounce here or there and we would have gotten 3 points, and sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Games like this you have to take the positives. We definitely created enough chances to win and we’ll take that and move on to the next one.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.