Lekic's letdown summates Revs' struggles vs. Rapids
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — A missed scoring chance epitomized Rajko Lekic's night of palpable frustration.
Sainey Nyassi streaked down the right side of the penalty area to create a crossing opportunity in the waning stages of New England's 0-0 draw with Colorado on Saturday night. Lekic drifted toward the far post and signaled that he could easily tap the winning goal into the net.
The anticipated slide-rule pass never arrived as Nyassi played the ball late through the goal area, which allowed Colorado defender Tyrone Marshall to cut out Nyassi's attempted feed. Instead of scoring his second goal in a New England uniform to snatch all three points, Lekic kicked the far post to display his angst.
WATCH: Marshall cuts out Nyassi's cross
The blunted move summed up Lekic's poor service problems as the lone forward in the Revolution's 4-5-1 approach last Saturday. Despite Lekic's evident displeasure with his lot, Revolution coach Steve Nicol said the Danish striker must persevere through this difficult spell as his teammates attempt to construct regular and reliable supply lines to him.
“He has to keep getting himself in positions to be available for the ball,” Nicol told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “That's what I'm talking about [in terms of failing to create chances]. We lacked that creativity to get him the ball when it matters. The one at the end kind of sums it up. He's in the right place to put the ball in the back of the net, but he doesn't get the pass.”
Although Nicol said he hopes to bolster his squad this summer with another creative attacking option that can ensure those passes get through, he and the Revs do not want to wait that long to instigate more opportunities in the final third. While Marko Perovic's eventual return from a left knee sprain should improve the situation, the onus still falls on the present squad to provide service from the wide areas.
Nicol attempted to address the problem by playing Benny Feilhaber on the left flank from the start against the Rapids. Feilhaber later moved into the middle for the second half after seeing little of the ball in the opening half.
With Feilhaber likely to remain in the middle moving forward, New England midfielder Shalrie Joseph said he believes the Revs must raise the quality of service from the likes of Zak Boggs, Kenny Mansally and Nyassi to provide opportunities for Lekic.
“It's improving the quality all over, from me to Sainey to Kenny,” Joseph said. “There has to be an improvement of quality all over the field. Once our level goes up a little bit and once we start pushing ourselves a little bit more in practice and having that 11 on the field week-in and week-out training together, I think we'll be better. It's all about the quality and our technique. Once we get that, we'll be a better team.”
The extra dose of quality in the final third would probably address Lekic's on-field frustration and bolster the Revs' efforts to use their improved work in possession to secure better results.
“It's tough for him when he's not getting great service, but it's tough on everybody,” Nicol said. “We've had so much of the ball, but to not use it well enough, it hurts us.”