FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The level of angst grew in the New England locker room as the Revolution allowed leads to slip away in the late stages in each of the past three games.
“It's been frustrating for sure,” Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis told MLSsoccer.com. “Even though we tied the past couple of games, we've still been playing a lot better than we have in the past. That's what we told ourselves.”
Reis and the Revs won't have to rely on those mental justifications any longer after finally accumulating and protecting an advantage in Saturday night's 2-0 victory over FC Dallas.
Shalrie Joseph (14th minute) and Rajko Lekic (85th minute) made the difference on the score sheet, but New England's revised approach to maintaining their lead ultimately made the difference on the night.
Instead of sitting back and soaking up pressure for much of the second half as they had for the past three matches, the Revs pushed out a bit higher and tried to keep FCD honest by sending numbers forward at the opportune times.
“It's really a collective thing,” Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. “We said to the back four that if they did their job well tonight, we'd win the game. We knew we'd make chances. It was important that we kept a good line and we didn't drop back. They did it and it shows that when they do keep together and do make good decisions, then we can win games.”
Nicol also helped out his charges by injecting Ryan Cochrane, Ryan Guy and Kenny Mansally during the final 20 minutes to give the side more spark and energy as the Revs attempted to see out the match.
“The subs were really, really important,” Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber said. “Regardless of whether you're tired or not, when you put subs in, they have to make a difference, and they did today.
“All the guys that came in did their job and more, helped us all out, and gave the guys that were in there more life as well. It's really gratifying to hold the result today.”
Lekic's late tally — a cool finish at the back post after Cochrane flicked on Feilhaber's corner — underscored the Revs' desire to threaten at the other end in order to keep FCD out and finally secure the victory they craved.
“It just showed how we were still attacking,” Reis said. “We were trying to score goals. We weren't just sitting back. We didn't play the perfect game, but we got three points and we're not out of it yet.”