The disappointment in Steve Nicol’s voice bordered on exasperation. The New England Revolution coach felt his side had put in all the requisite work and sweat—particularly, the sweat, on a 97-degree night—to get something out of their match on Saturday night at FC Dallas.
Instead, they fell 1-0 through an opportunistic second-half goal from FCD’s Marvin Chavez. It was the Revs’ third loss in a row.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
“We came here to make it tough on them,” Nicol told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “You can’t chase and chase with this heat. So, yes, I’m disappointed (after) the effort we put in.”
Dallas dominated possession on the night, but the Revolution seemed content to concede possession in exchange for maintaining a coordinated defensive structure. They allowed Dallas to attack, particularly through youngster Fabian Castillo. And the defense held. When it did break down, goalkeeper Matt Reis was there to make the save. He finished with eight saves on the night.
For most of the match, the plan worked. But it unraveled in the 69th minute, when Marvin FCD’s Chavez spun around Revs rookie defender A.J. Soares, drove along the byline, and scored a goal at the near post, fooling Reis, who was cheating in expectation of a cross from Chavez.
“The goal was a mistake,” Nicol said. “It was scored from an impossible angle, but it was a mistake to let (Chavez) get into that position.”
“I got out and closed him down,” Soares told MLSsoccer.com about defending Chavez. “He made a quick turn. A guy with that kind of pace can make things happen.”
Making things happen has not been a regular occurrence for the Revs in 2011. Which is why perhaps the most distressing issues for the Revs on Saturday night were not on the defensive end. After all, they kept one of the league’s most explosive offenses at bay, for the most part.
When the Revs did get the ball, there was precious lack of sustained possession or creativity. Despite the return of French playmaker Ousmane Dabo, the Revs rarely strung more than two or three passes together.
“We need to be better on the ball,” Nicol said. “We didn’t move the ball quick enough. We didn’t make quick decisions. You know, what’s most disappointing is we turned the ball over too many times when we were not under pressure. That’s disappointing.”