FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution's 0-0 draw with the Columbus Crew on Friday night earned them another point at home, but they were left ruing the opportunities that they could have, and probably should have, converted.
On another night, the chances they squandered may have ended up in the back of the net. The first half produced four promising opportunities – from Benny Feilhaber's first-minute chance to Fernando Cardenas' near-post effort eight minutes before halftime – without engineering the breakthrough.
HIGHLIGHTS: NE 0, CLB 0
Revolution coach Jay Heaps cited his team's inability to convert just one of those openings – particularly the potential opener Feilhaber pushed wide inside of 60 seconds – as decisive on a night when his side's rhythm deteriorated as the match progressed.
“If you think about it, if we score the first play of the game when we almost score [when] Feilhaber’s through, it’s a different game and the confidence [is there],” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com. “I don’t want to say it wasn’t our night, it’s such a negative. But at the same time, we did not have our best game, for sure.”
Most of the chances arrived by playing quickly through midfield, but the Revs struggled to find a way through the Crew's resolute shape when they attempted to create opportunities in possession.
Columbus has conceded fewer than two goals in each of its past seven games by relying on a resolute defensive shape (4-4-1-1 against the Revs) and a smart save or two by Andy Gruenebaum to keep out the opposition. The Crew's ardent work through midfield limited the Revs' ability to construct a viable possession game (45.8 percent possession, 69.6 percent passing accuracy, according to statistics compiled by OPTA) and produce the chances required to decide the match through the second half.
“They came in and pushed everyone in,” Heaps said. “They knew they were going to clog the middle because that’s what we do [play through the middle]. When we had our chance to go wide with Lee [Nguyen], we had some chances, but the ideas ran out a bit.”
The final result should provide plenty of fodder for the Revs as they move onwards to face Toronto FC next Saturday, but Revolution defender Chris Tierney said the players won't put their heads down about the draw as they prepare to face the team now managed by former assistant Paul Mariner.
“That's the way it goes sometimes,” Tierney said. “That's soccer. I think we created enough chances to win the game, but, sometimes, it just doesn't work for you for whatever reason. We'll keep our heads up, move on and try to get a road result next weekend.”