For the New England Revolution, now sporting a gaudy six-match winning streak and the league's only undefeated record, it was a workmanlike performance in dispatching D.C. United 1-0 on Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Taylor Twellman scored the winner in the 59th minute from his own rebound after Pat Noonan had dribbled Mike Petke and slotted the ball into the box.
Unlike recent encounters between the two teams, Saturday was a tight affair with few scoring chances. Revolution midfielder Clint Dempsey struggled to work himself into the match, while D.C. fell silent after starting brightly in the opening 20 minutes.
Revolution head coach Steve Nicol was happy with his side's performance.
"Sometimes, you need to win by working hard and cutting things out," said Nicol. "We did a nice job of keeping possession and keeping them out as well.
"I can't remember them having a chance where I was saying, 'They should have scored,'" continued Nicol. "They had a couple of half-chances, and certainly we had a couple of half-chances as well."
Revolution midfielder Andy Dorman, preferred to Jose Cancela in central midfield, was frank with his assessment of the team's performance.
"We struggled a bit in the first half," said Dorman. "We could have played better."
Defender Jay Heaps concurred with his Welsh teammate.
"Today was a good game for us," said Heaps, "but it wasn't a great game."
D.C. United head coach Peter Nowak was content with his side's defensive performance on the whole. With Dempsey lying low, the United defense kept the Revs out for most of the day, especially down the flanks.
"If you lose the game, you need to think about what you can do better," said Nowak. "The first half was good defensively, and the second half was good enough besides the one mistake on Noonan."
Nowak admitted that his side was undone by a lackluster start to the second half.
"The first 20 minutes of the second half were crucial," said Nowak. "I told them that at halftime."
Kyle McCarthy is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.