Revs rue inability to close out Chicago despite potent attack
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England coach Steve Nicol once again rued his side's inability to finish off its opportunities in front of goal after Saturday night's 1-1 draw against Chicago.
Despite launching 19 shots toward goal for the second consecutive game, the Revs failed to convert a few promising chances and ultimately settled for a share of the points.
“It's disappointing,” Nicol told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “To be honest, it feels like a loss.”
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New England edged the opening stages of the contest –- both sides carved out chances in the opening half an hour, though the Revs created the better opportunities –- until Dominic Oduro placed the Fire in front by completing a quick counterattack with a tidy finish after 32 minutes.
“We started off well,” Revolution midfielder Pat Phelan said. “I thought we should have been up one or two before they scored. We had a defensive lapse -– getting countered when we weren't closing the ball down –- and we got burned for it. At the rate we're scoring goals, we can't afford to come from behind.”
The task becomes even harder when the Revs can't find their footing in front of goal. Rajko Lekic saw two well-taken attempts saved by Sean Johnson, while Kenny Mansally somehow managed to push his header over the bar seven minutes before halftime after the active Sainey Nyassi curled in a tempting cross from the right.
“Even in the last game, I think we got (chances),” Mansally said. “We kept going (tonight) and kept getting more. I think that's good for us. The next thing we need to do –- especially (me) –- is getting the balls in the back of the net. I know I was in good spots, but I need to work on putting it in.”
Lekic finally gave the Revs the goal they needed three minutes after halftime. The Danish striker corralled an attempted shot by Phelan behind the disjointed Fire defensive line and slotted home into the far corner for his second goal of the season.
“The finish tonight, on the one hand looks simple, but, if you panic, it becomes a lot harder. He kept his cool and just stroked it away,” Nicol said. “It was a great finish.”
Lekic nearly added a stunning brace in second-half stoppage time after the Revs had weathered a bit of a storm in the late stages, but his volley flashed wide to ensure the Revs' winless streak extended to six games.
The draw capped a disappointing homestand for the Revs. After picking up just two points against Toronto FC and Chicago this week, New England must now head to Seattle next Saturday in search of a victory.
“Playing two home games – (and) giving away four points – is not a good thing,” Nyassi said. “Since we gave away all of those points, we have to go to Seattle, stay focused and get the three points. It will help us because we went there a few years ago (2009) and got the three points. Hopefully, we can do it again.”