WASHINGTON — The steamy conditions at RFK Stadium and New England's recent run of form all but dictated the Revolution's approach in Wednesday night's 1-0 victory over D.C. United.
In the wake of a discouraging 3-0 defeat at home to Philadelphia on Sunday, the Revs needed to enter this match with the gumption they lacked against the Union.
All of that missing determination and industry returned against United. It may have taken a few favorable breaks to secure their first victory since May 14, but the Revs scrapped through the match by keeping United off the board during a first-half surge and snatching a set piece goal during the second half.
“When you're playing away from home, that's usually the key: you have to try to keep a zero for as long as you can,” Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “That's what we did tonight. As the game goes on more and more and it's 0-0, it's only going to frustrate the home team and help out the visitors. That's what happened tonight.”
Reis made a pair of tidy stops on Charlie Davies and Dwayne De Rosario to keep his side in the match during the first half, while Davies' penalty kick miss a minute before halftime permitted the Revs to use the break to sort themselves out defensively — Darrius Barnes came on for the injured Ryan Cochrane (left foot) after 22 minutes — and devise a way to carve out the winner.
“We were able to take a break from Matty making all of those saves,” Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph said. “We have some chances too, but Matty kept us in the game. We just said it might be our night [when Davies missed] and that we had to take it to them a little bit in the second half. We did well to get some crosses on set pieces and just whip some balls in there. We got lucky that [Revolution midfielder Stephen McCarthy] got his head on something and it went in for us.”
McCarthy nodded Chris Tierney's corner kick inside the far post in the 73rd minute to give New England a precious advantage and inspire the Revs to exhaust every remaining ounce of energy to protect the lead.
“It's huge, absolutely huge,” Revolution coach Steve Nicol said about his side's determination on the evening. “When we go 1-0 up, guys are throwing themselves in front of shots and chasing things down. They were gritting their teeth and pushing through it.”
The effort ultimately gave the Revs their first road win of the season and snapped a nine-match spell without a victory. While Nicol said he and his players will revel in their hard-fought victory, he also noted that his side must somehow regain its strength ahead of Saturday's match at Colorado.
“We're delighted,” Nicol said. “The conditions were incredibly tough for both sets of players. The humidity and the heat were incredible. Guys were lying down on both sides. That tells you what the conditions were like. Hopefully, we can recover from that quickly and try to get to Colorado and get something out of it.”