New England Revolution rue missed chances, heap praise on Union GK Andre Blake

Jermaine Jones - New England Revolution vs. Philadelphia Union - header

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – In their second chance to secure a postseason bid the New England Revolution started like nothing could stop them, coming out flying in the first half of play versus Philadelphia on Saturday night. Despite an unbalanced level of possession in their favor, the Revs only scored once and allowed Philadelphia to hang around. Eventually the Union found the person to hold New England back in the form of goalkeeper Andre Blake who held them at bay for a 1-1 draw.

“It was pretty good,” said coach Jay Heaps of Blake’s 10-save performance. “He almost saved the penalty too. He was all over the place. He’s a player I watched quite a bit coming from UConn and scouting the local colleges. He’s really long, he makes these saves out of nowhere. I would have thought we had two or three tonight, and he was excellent.”

New England took advantage of a foul in the penalty area in the 35th minute. Lee Nguyen snuck the penalty kick just past the reach of Blake, but that would be all they would get by the Union keeper on the night.

The Revolution kept up their pace in the second half, but fell asleep at the wheel just long enough for Philly to take advantage. Fernando Aristeguieta smashed home a near-post shot in the 65th minute to tie the match.

“They kind of capitalized right at the time when there was a little bit of lull in terms of we were giving the ball away cheaply and there were some not-so-great possessions,” said Heaps. “I would have liked to see us tighten that up…We’re not built to hold a 1-0 lead from minute 30 on. We want to go after the second goal, especially at home.”

The opportunities for that second goal were plentiful in the second half. The Revs ripped off 14 shots, nine of which were on target.

Perhaps there was no one more flustered than Juan Agudelo, who subbed on in the 55th minute and found himself with three consecutive opportunities in the 79th minute. His first effort hit the woodwork and the second two were thwarted by the acrobatic Blake.

“All credit goes to the keeper,” said Agudelo. “He played a heck of a game today, unfortunately I wasn’t able to go back in the net. That was quickest three shots I’ve ever had in a game.”

Now the Revs will have to wait another week to secure a playoff berth, with hopes that Blake doesn’t haunt them too much in their training efforts heading into their tilt with Chicago next Saturday.