FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For the second time in as many games, the New England Revolution went into halftime with a 1-0 lead in hand and momentum on their side.
But, just as they did in their 2-1 loss at New York two weeks ago, the Revs came out flat in the second half, giving up a slew of chances before allowing the Timbers to equalize and snatch a point in a 1-1 draw.
“I thought the game was a little bit of a tale of two halves,” coach Jay Heaps told the media following the match. “I thought we were there in the first half with the right way we played. The second half, we let them back in.”
“That’s disappointing, because when you have a team that you think you can put away, we’ve got to start putting them away, and we had the chance in the first half.”
New England got off seven shots in the first half, two on target, taking the lead on a Charlie Davies goal in the 27th minute. But subsequent chances to push further ahead turned into misfires or easy saves for Timbers 'keeper Donovan Ricketts, who had five stops on the night.
With a lead in hand, the Revs seemed to sit back a bit, content to let Portland bring the game to them. That was where the problems started creeping in, with the Timbers getting off seven second half shots and equalizing in the 65th minute through defender Liam Ridgewell.
“It’s a little bit of we stopped playing,” said Heaps. “We‘re not opening up wide enough and starting to play a little when the game is there.”
The build to Portland’s equalizer began harmlessly enough, with Ridgewell picking off a pass to Davies near midfield. The English defender saw open space and made a mad dash up field, passing by numerous Revs before firing home from the left side of the box.
“I haven’t seen it yet on film, I’m going to go back and watch it, but live it was a center back beating two or three guys,” said Heaps. “We have three points on the line and we have to be better.”
Saturday was the start of a stretch which will see New England play five of six at home, so squandering a chance a max points was more than a disappointment – it was a missed opportunity to get things rolling again after a rough couple of months for the Revs.
“It wasn’t as much as what they did, it’s what we did,” said Heaps. “We gave them the ball back. We were giving the ball away, unforced, and that’s not good enough.”