WASHINGTON — For D.C. United, the chances came early and often against a beleaguered New England Revolution side. A combination of poor finishing — including a missed penalty kick by striker Charlie Davies in the 44th minute — and a strong performance from Revs ‘keeper Matt Reis let all those chances go begging, however, as the Black and Red fell 1-0 at RFK.
“It’s obviously a tough one to take just because of the opportunities we had early to put the game away,” DC head coach Ben Olsen said after the game. “If you don’t do that, we’ve all seen this script — second half they think they got through a half, a new lease on life, and then they get a set piece goal.”
As early as the second minute, DC were on top of the Revolution, as a cross swung in from out wide by Andy Najar just missed Dwayne De Rosario at full stretch in front of Matt Reis’ goal.
United tried to take advantage of the humid conditions by keeping up the pressure on New England. Charlie Davies forced Reis into a save in the 16th minute. Along range effort by De Rosario was parried away just one minute later.
“It’s a frustrating game because there were some good things, especially in the first half when we were putting things together getting shots on frame,” midfielder Chris Pontius said. “We don’t come up with a goal coming into halftime — if we go up 1-0, the game changes.”
A golden opportunity to take the lead came in the 44th minute, after Pat Phelan was whistled for a handball in the New England penalty area.
Davies, who had converted all four of his previous penalty attempts this season, stepped up to the spot with an eye to giving DC a lead going into the break. The forward took his customary short run up, but blasted the shot over goal.
“It was pretty painful to see that go over the bar,” he told reporters.
Even after the penalty miss, the chances continued to come for United, but the shots either missed the target or were saved by Reis, who finished with six stops on the night.
“He’s an experienced goalkeeper,” Davies said. “He’s pretty [darn] good when he was on, and tonight he was on.”
DC’s inability to find the back of the net came back to bite them in the 73rd minute when Stephen McCarthy nodded a Chris Tierney cross to the far post and in to put the Revolution up 1-0. The goal proved insurmountable, dooming United to their third home loss of the season.
“You get these summer games, where they’re back and forth, and you give up chances, you get chances, but you got to do well with yours,” he said. “They did well with one of theirs, we didn’t do it with any of ours.”
Travis Clark covers D.C. United, College and Youth soccer for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter: @travismclark.