On a night where Revolution manager Brad Friedel answered a tough question about Lee Nguyen (and we think hinted about his future), perhaps the most insightful statement of the night came from another Brad in the building Saturday night.
“(Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy) Maurer has made saves,” Revs play-by-play man Brad Feldman said during the NBC Sports Boston telecast of New England’s 1-nil defeat at the hands of FC Dallas, “but the Revs haven’t made him work.”
Undeniably true. Every single word of it.
Maurer made six saves in this match, and on four of them – there was a 23rd-minute try by Teal Bunbury off a rather scorching sequence which saw the Georgian rise and deny the interior roof of the net – he only had to raise his hands to stop. None of New England’s shots had Maurer leaving his feet.
Juan Agudelo, who came on to start the second half in place of Scott Caldwell, had three touches on potential scoring tries in the first 12 minutes of his appearance: a failed bicycle kick that he scuffed (Maurer saved it) early in the 52nd minute, before he charged and one-timed Bunbury's curling cross from the touchline three and a half minutes later (it was low and just to Maurer's left); about a minute later, on a Revs' short corner, Diego Fagundez crossed through the 18 to Jalil Anibaba, who used his noggin to lay it off back to Agudelo.
Agudelo then proceeded to blaze over.
It was just part in parcel of a rather heavy-footed second half, especially after Dallas midfielder Jacori Hayes tucked it in for the lone goal in the 77th. Before then, it felt almost as if the Revolution weren't collected and weren't embroiled in a scoreless game; it felt like New England were down by two or three, and they needed to get goals in a hurry. By my count in the match blog, Dallas only had one foray into its attacking third in the time Agudelo had three sniffs of goal. That Dallas foray saw the Revs defense converge on the player, with Claude Dielna and Gabriel Somi both getting touches on the ball to end that particular threat.
And how heavy-footed was New England?
- End 46th: Somi crossed to Cristian Penilla... Penilla blazes into The Fort.
- Agudelo's one-timer in the 55th.
- 87th: Wilfried Zahibo blazes.
- Early 89th: Somi with a curling cross to Fagundez... Fagundez sends it to the lighthouse tunnel.
Four real opportunities to settle the ball, and the Revs failed to do so. Fagundez also had a chance in the 64th that came on some nice build-up -- Zahibo header to Bunbury, backheel flick to Fagundez, wheels around Reto Ziegler, and fires just wide -- which, other than the tapper over the bar, were really the only times Maurer felt obligated to move.
In the first half, New England had three on-target shots -- the tapper, a Bunbury grazing header, Caldwell's side volley -- to Dallas' two. The header and the side volley were straight at Maurer, and sure, it's easy for me to say from the Blue Level that they should have done this, they should have done that -- yes, it's hard to tell where a ball is going, it's difficult to direct a one-timer -- but on several second-half tries, even with the work rate Dallas' defense used, the Revs should have gotten back to basics and played controlled football with the shot selection.
Again, it was 0-0. The Revs did a lot of offensive work, got pretty much everyone involved with opportunities, but failed to finish neat and tidy. And yes, the 90+2' penalty shout should have been awarded, and yes, it's quite possible the Revolution would have brought the match to level terms.
But I stress that the match never should have come down to the reliance of getting a referee to award a penalty. The Revolution should have settled the ball, and should have finished their chances properly.
In retrospect, Dallas had the same amount of opportunities as The Boys In Blue. Six apiece.
The difference was, FCD finished one of them.
Of the offensive attack, Friedel said this in his post-match presser: “I reviewed all of our chances. We had more than enough chances to score goals tonight. It was one of those nights where we didn’t. Diego’s chance was whiskers wide, Penilla had a really good chance that just went wide of the post, and another one that he sliced to the right. Juan made a try to the left, Juan had a bicycle kick, as well. Wilfried had an opportunity that he put over the bar. Juan had another one. We had a lot of chances. On some different days, like against Montreal (last Friday), we scored four of them. Today, we scored zero.”
What Fagundez thought of the Revs' offensive attack and the lack of a finish:
"I think we were getting some chances but we weren't really in the box a lot where we were getting clear chances to score, but I think in the last couple of minutes, we pinned them in. It was chance after chance after chance, and we thought we were going to get one. We were unlucky."
"I think our team has been doing well, we've been working hard in training; when we have our chances, we're going to bury teams. Today was not our day. Overall, we worked hard, but it was one of those days where it didn't work out.
"We were trying to get the win, especially at home. It was one of those games where you try to go for it. We got unlucky on one play, and they buried us."