The New England Revolution delivered a much-needed three points with a 2-0 home victory on Saturday night against the Dallas Burn. Taylor Twellman and Steve Ralston tallied for the home team as they drew to within three points of Chicago for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol was pleased with the effort of his side.
"We were just better all around," said Nicol. "We have to do that more consistently. That's why we are where we are."
Ralston admits that his side was subpar for much of the first stanza, but that the end product put fate back into the Revolution's own hands.
"In the second half, we were much better," said Ralston. "In the first half, we were sloppy with the ball and turning the ball all over the place. This is a great result for us. It puts destiny back in our own control."
The first goal saw Marshall Leonard tally his first ever MLS point with a curling ball that was expertly finished by Twellman.
"It was a great lob," said Nicol. "We did things with a bit of quality tonight. It gave us the opportunity to score goals. Marshall's cross gave Taylor the chance to finish with a great header. All of these things tie together."
Revolution technical director Joe Cummings was pleased with the side's midfield play. Man of the Match Jose "Pepe" Cancela delivered an inspirational performance after spending much of the last month on the bench.
"I liked our midfield tonight," said Cummings. "Shalrie did a very good job of tucking in behind Pepe tonight, and Pepe did a great job of pulling the strings."
Nicol saw his charges crawl closer to a playoff berth, but he wants his team to focus on the task at hand and forget about other results.
"We don't want to think of Chicago," said Nicol. "We just want to win games. If we play the way we did tonight, we fancy our chances against anyone."
As one would expect, Burn coach Colin Clarke was less than thrilled with the goals his team conceded, calling the second "ridiculous".
"We looked sharp for the first 20-25 minutes and then they started to work their way into the game. And we gave up a bad goal," Clarke said. "We lost a runner on a set goal and then they get a free kick, which I didn't think was a free kick. But they get it, we don't defend it and we are down 1-0 right before halftime. Then we give up a second right after, which is just criminal."
Burn captain Jason Kreis shared his coach's views: "Obviously, once we got behind it was a difficult game for us. And for us to give up a goal in the first minute, minute and a half back is unacceptable."
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Soccer or its clubs.