It looked like New England's game plan would hold true to form for the first 20 minutes of Sunday afternoon's 2-1 defeat in Seattle.
The afternoon started well as Sainey Nyassi handed the Revs a shocking lead after three minutes by sweeping home Benny Feilhaber's short corner kick. The early goal spurred the Revs into a bright spell during the opening stages and reinforced their belief that they could come away from CenturyLink Field with a result.
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“I thought we killed the game,” Revolution coach Steve Nicol told Revs Wrap/CSNNE.com after the match. “We came out, and, obviously, they're going to start off with the crowd on their back and they're going to try to get after us. We tried to switch that the other way, which we did. We got ourselves ahead and we killed the game, and then the game totally changes on something that we're not responsible for.”
Nicol pointed to the free kick given in the buildup to Tyson Wahl's equalizer as the turning point in the contest when Revs center back Ryan Cochrane was judged to have fouled Seattle's Mauro Rosales on an aerial challenge. Seattle had wrested control of the match in midfield by that point, but Nicol said that the referee's decision helped Sounders FC get the goal they needed to push onwards.
“The game was perfect for us,” Nicol said. “We were one-nil up, they weren't hurting us, the game was dead. It was a straightforward challenge, two guys going for the ball. All of a sudden, he gives them a free kick. The guy [Wahl] took it well, but it changed the game.”
Seattle used Wahl's 34th minute reply to cement its stranglehold on the proceedings. Alvaro Fernandez compounded the Revolution's misery five minutes before halftime by slotting home to complete a move facilitated by right back Kevin Alston's footwear issues.
Although Seattle continued to enjoy the better of the match from the run of play in the second half, New England came close to snatching a point on three occasions as Sounders FC failed to grab the critical third goal. Shalrie Joseph, Rajko Lekic and second-half substitute Zack Schilawski all went close for the Revs as they created opportunities during the second stanza, but they ultimately could not locate the equalizer.
“Listen, we can't get a break,” Nicol said. “We still had some chances and we could have taken the point as well. Rajko's unlucky with his volley. (Seattle goalkeeper Kasey) Keller's made a great save off Shalrie's header. Zack's come on and hit the bar.”
The final outcome left Nicol with a bitter taste in his mouth, but he noted the Revs would have to somehow find a way to work through their current barren stretch -- the club is winless in seven matches -- ahead of their Independence Day visit to Real Salt Lake.
“Unless I'm watching a different game, we feel as though we've been robbed again,” Nicol said. “We're coming away with nothing, which we don't deserve. It's beginning to get a little bit monotonous. It's the same story week-in, week-out. We have to change that. Only we can change it and we have to do it.”