FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Silver linings are hard to find in the middle of a club record 10-match winless streak, but the New England Revolution could at least take some small solace from the defensive performance submitted in the 0-0 draw against Philadelphia.
A revamped back four – including Kevin Alston at left back, Darrius Barnes and Stephen McCarthy in the middle and Flo Lechner on the right side – and the sturdy Matt Reis played a large part in absorbing Philadelphia's pressure and securing a first clean sheet since July 21.
“Some guys stepped in there and did well,” Revolution midfielder Benny Feilhaber told MLSsoccer.com after the game. “It was Flo's first time playing back there in a while, Darrius' first time [in a while]. Kevin and Macca helped them out. It's good to see Matty saving us quite a few times there. For those five in the back, it was huge for us. It was good to see that, especially after the number of goals we've given up in the past few games.”
WATCH: NE 0, PHI 0
Most of those goals stemmed from a persistent inability to remain concentrated for the full match. Those mental lapses disappeared for the most part as the Revs focused on the duties at hand and repelled the Union for much of the night, according to Reis.
“We had to plug in a couple of new guys,” Reis said after he made seven saves to earn man of the match honors. “Everybody – especially after the collapses we've had in the last couple of games – was really trying to stay turned on. We did a good job of communicating tonight. I think it kept everybody in the game. We didn't create that many chances, but we really battled and fought. We didn't give up any mental lapses, which was good.”
This defensive effort represented a necessary remedial step after permitting two-goal and three-goal leads to slip in the last two matches. Now the Revs will try to ally this defensive performance with more attacking punch ahead of Wednesday's visit from in-form Columbus.
“I think it was a big deal that we got the clean sheet tonight after the past couple of games when we've given up a total of seven goals in the past two games,” Barnes said. “It picks up our confidence in the back. We just have to pick it back up offensively. We weren't as sharp offensively in keeping the ball tonight. It was one of our sloppier nights with the ball going forward. That happens from time to time. We got the clean sheet, we got the point. We have to try to pick it up from here.”