New England Revolution head coach Steve Nicol was pleased with the way his side fought through rainy conditions and a resolute Chivas USA defense to register their fourth win on the trot with a 1-0 victory on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
Clint Dempsey scored his fourth consecutive match winner, an 88th-minute header from a pinpoint Marshall Leonard cross, to keep the Revolution atop the Eastern Conference. The winner looked like it would not come for the home side despite a dominating performance in which they spurned a series of outstanding chances.
Nicol was pleased that the team maintained their composure and their place atop the Eastern Conference.
"We kept our confidence," said Nicol. "We kept fighting. It was a wet and heavy night, but we did our job."
With Chivas USA struggling to find any offensive consistency, the Revolution were left to maintain their poise and discipline defensively by waiting for counterattacks when the Revolution pushed bodies forward into the offensive third.
Those attacks never materialized as the Revolution filled the potential gaps in transition, while Chivas never seemed to connect a series of passes moving towards goal.
"They wanted to counterattack, and we were worried about some holes opening up at the back," said Nicol. "We stayed disciplined and kept solid. We were disciplined for the whole 90 minutes. The players stuck at it."
Chivas USA had Guzan to thank for placing themselves in the position to snatch a point before Dempsey shattered their dreams two minutes from time. The rookie drew criticism in the press this week and responded by denying three glorious Revolution chances.
"Their 'keeper [Guzan] made three tremendous saves," said Nicol. "They've done everything they could to come here and take a point from this game."
The visitors had changed tactics from their traditional 4-3-3 alignment to a 3-5-2 to match the Revolution's numbers in midfield. The defensive tactics did not force the Revolution from their plan.
"They bunkered down the middle of the field and we didn't get frustrated," said Leonard.
Dempsey ensured that the crowd of 7,813 would dry off happily with his header. The U.S. national team midfielder felt the goal was just rewards for a constant commitment to attack.
"We were pounding and pounding," said Dempsey. "A tie would have felt like a loss tonight."
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.