Despite a spirited and shocking comeback effort early in the second half, the New England Revolution were unable to come away from RFK Stadium with a result, losing 3-2 to D.C. United in the nation's capital on Saturday night. Saer Sene and A.J. Soares tallied for the Revs, but lax defense and set-piece troubles were again too much for New England to overcome.
D.C. took total control of the first half almost from the get-go, netting their first goal in the 15th minute. Again, an indirect free kick was New England's undoing as Branko Boskovic connected with Brandon McDonald to put the hosts in front. They doubled the tally in the 38th minute, this time from a corner as the Revs failed to clear their lines, allowing Dejan Jakovic to stuff the ball home.
New England grabbed the match by the scruff of the neck in the second half, pulling one back in the 48th minute when Saer Sene bundled home the rebound from a powerful drive by Benny Feilhaber. Just two minutes later, the Revs finally made set pieces work for them as Chris Tierney's corner found the head of A.J. Soares at the near post, and the second-year defender nodded in across the keeper to make it interesting.
Despite several chances to go ahead in the match, New England failed to make the most of their opportunities and it was United who seized the moment to regain the lead. Maicon Santos began a move in the 61st minute, turning to Revolution defenders and slipping a ball to Dwayne De Rosario, who reached the byline before cutting it back to Santos at the top of the eighteen. The Brazilian simply picked his spot and swept it home, his run having gone totally un-tracked.
The Revs were desperate to equalize and found one or two chances to do so in the closing third of the game. Just four minutes after D.C.'s goal, Shalrie Joseph skied a volley over the bar from not far out after doing well to control a Sene cross and turn his body. Fernando Cardenas barely missed a curler in the 76th minute, and substitute Jose Moreno scuffed a low shot right at Bill Hamid after he was played in by some deft work by Kelyn Rowe.
Rowe himself had the best chance of the half for the Revs, though, when he showcased his jumping ability by soaring high over all United defenders and snapping his header on frame, but D.C. keeper Hamid made a mind-bending acrobatic save to tip the ball over and secure his side's victory.
Saer Sene in particular had a mixed night. He did well to score, but was stymied by Hamid on two other very clear chances, and by rights should maybe have had a hat trick. In the first half, he was in one-on-one with Hamid and tried to nutmeg the young keeper, but Hamid's reflexes served as he managed to divert the ball with his knee. Then, in the second half, Sene was again rushing in, but this time was met at the top of the eighteen by Hamid, who managed to take the ball off the Frenchman's feet as Sene tried to take it around him.
Jay Heaps will be upset that his side once again conceded from set-pieces. Jakovic's goal marked the seventh occasion this season that the Revolution have conceded from dead ball situations, and McDonald's goal in particular made it four from free kicks alone. After conceding from a free kick last week against Houston, Jay Heaps expressed great frustration over his team's set piece issues, and it is unlikely that he feels any better about it now.
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