New England's Nicol: Revs gift-wrapped win for San Jose

Kevin Alston - May 21, 2011

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New England did everything they could to mount a late comeback to snatch a point in San Jose.

The Revolution mustered up a late goal to set up the chase for an equalizer with four minutes remaining. They piled numbers forward. They pressed until the final whistle blew a minute earlier than expected.

All of that effort went for naught as the Earthquakes rode out the Revolution's late surge to collect a 2-1 victory at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday night.

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“At the end of the day, it's all about picking up points and we didn't do that today,” Revolution midfielder Chris Tierney told CSNNE.com's Revs Wrap after the match. “I thought we were bright in the first half, but, in the second half, I wasn't good enough and the rest of the team wasn't good enough. We're disappointed with the result.”

There were junctures in the match where the Revs felt they could have guaranteed a more positive outcome. San Jose started out the better of the two sides — Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis saved a Joey Gjertsen shot and Earthquakes midfielder Khari Stephenson hit the crossbar inside the first 15 minutes — but the visitors settled down after the stormy start.

New England flirted with a potential lead as forward Rajko Lekic saw his effort stopped after halftime and his teammates cobbled together decent spells in possession, but the Earthquakes ultimately engineered a pair of goals to assert control over the match.

Ellis McLoughlin opened up the scoring with his first career MLS goal to break the deadlock after 71 minutes. Chris Wondolowski carved out a yard of space as San Jose broke quickly down the right flank. Wondolowski served his cross to the far post and while both Revolution defenders collapsed on Steven Lenhart in the middle, they permitted the unmarked McLoughlin to nod home unmarked at the back stick.

Bobby Convey doubled the lead 12 minutes later to seemingly put the game beyond doubt. Lenhart provided the impetus again as he drew a free kick out on the right edge of the penalty area. Convey looped the resulting set piece into the upper far corner of the net as he caught Reis cheating off his line to deal with the anticipated cross.

“We made two mistakes and we lose two goals,” Nicol told CSNNE.com's Revs Wrap. “[San Jose] really didn't hurt us all night.”

Tierney set up a grandstand finish four minutes from time from a set piece. Revolution substitute Sainey Nyassi tempted Stephenson into giving away a free kick 25 yards from goal. Tierney and Benny Feilhaber stood over the ball before Tierney curled his attempt inside the far post to reduce the deficit.

“Me and Benny were over it, talking about it,” Tierney said. “I think it's his range, but their wall was set up a little bit inside and the back post was open a little bit for a left-footed shot. I tucked it in, but, unfortunately, it doesn't matter in the end.”

Despite applying an ample amount of pressure in the waning stages of the contest, the Revs couldn't find a goal to seal the result they believed they deserved.

They will have a long trip back to Massachusetts to ponder the match, but they cannot afford to wallow in disappointment with a trip to Kansas City for a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup play-in match on May 25 and a date with the LA Galaxy three days later.

“Let me tell you, we've got to travel home tomorrow and it's a long way when you don't get any points,” Nicol said. “But we need to dust ourselves off and get ourselves ready for the games that are coming along.”