<
>

Revs can't make Davies' goal stand up

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It wasn't all that long ago that grabbing the first goal of the game equaled a surefire victory for the Revolution. In fact, up until two weeks ago, the Revolution were a perfect 7-for-7 when firing the opening salvo.

But for the second straight game, the Revolution threw that early lead into the wastebasket when Timbers defender Liam Ridgewell blazed a trail from deep in the midfield into the box, where he scored a 65th-minute equalizer to send the Revolution to a disappointing 1-1 draw on Saturday.

"It's just lackluster," said defender Darrius Barnes of the sequence in which Ridgewell equalized. "Just, as all-around team effort, it was weak. Their center back shouldn't be able to pick the ball up at midfield, and just slash through the defense like that and get a clear shot like that. It was a very amateur goal [to give up], and it's something that shouldn't happen at this level."

The fact that it did happen was a tell-tale sign of a squad that, in the words of coach Jay Heaps, "stopped playing" in the second half. And the statistics support the coach's point.

In the first half, the Revolution were passing at a 70.9 percent clip, which wasn't stellar by any stretch of the imagination. Even so, it was good enough to allow the offense to press the issue and score in the 27th minute, as Charlie Davies secured his second goal in as many games.

But the second half was an entirely different story. The passing accuracy dipped to 64.3 percent, far below the Revolution's 76.8 percent average on the season. Not surprisingly, the Timbers took advantage by putting together a collection of chances in the early stages of the second half.

"To be honest with you, it wasn't anything as much as they did as it was what we did," said Heaps. "We gave them the ball back, and we had turnovers. We were [at] 67 percent accuracy where it felt like 37 percent. We were giving the ball away unforced, and that's not good enough."

All the mistakes came to a head in the 65th minute in a scene that spoke to the idea that the Revolution let off the gas in the second half.

After Kelyn Rowe gave the ball away in the midfield to Ridgewell, the English defender swerved past Rowe, then left Andrew Farrell in the dust before depositing it past a helpless Bobby Shuttleworth.

"It was a weird play," Rowe said. "It was a ball out of the box, he won it, and two guys, myself included, kind of dove in and he beat both. He's one of those guys you don't expect to rip one far post. And unfortunately we let him, and he did."

And just like that, the lead that the Revolution had worked so hard for in the first half was gone in an instant. A brief but costly lapse.

Of course, there was still plenty of time to retake the lead. With 25 minutes remaining and the home crowd behind New England, the prospect of punching another through wasn't unfathomable.

But the Revolution continued to sabotage their chances. While there were glimmers in the 77th and 78th minutes, when Patrick Mullins and Daigo Kobayashi unearthed opportunities to score the go-ahead goal, the fact is the hosts couldn't sustain the pressure.

"It just wasn't good enough," Barnes said. "We didn't connect the passes, and we weren't playing together and moving off the ball and just weren't enough options out there."

Three points hasn't come easy to the Revolution over the course of the past two months. Saturday's draw marked the 10th time in their past 11 that they've fallen short of grabbing maximum points. Their second-half form may have betrayed them, but they also had ample opportunity to put the game away even earlier.

"We let them back in," Heaps said, "and that's disappointing because when you have a team that you think you can put away, you have to start putting them away, and we had a chance in the first half."