Lekic gets much-needed goal

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- There’s no doubt that Rajko Lekic has the tendency to throw display his emotions when he fails to put the ball in the back of the net.

And in recent weeks, he's been extremely animated, as he’s watched an alarming number of potential goals pass him by.

But on Saturday night, the fiery forward finally punched one of those chances through to help give the Revs a point during their 1-1 draw to Chicago.


“It really was (a relief) to get back on the board,” said Lekic after the game. “I played eight games without getting a goal and I’m here to score goals. It was a tough time for me, but when I saw the goal go in the back of the net, it was a big (moment) for me.”

After scoring in his first home game against Sporting Kansas City on April 23rd, it appeared that the goals would flow for the former Silkeborg IF star, who scored 76 goals in 121 matches during separate stints at the club.

However, Lekic would have to wait nearly two months to find his second goal of the season. And while he waited, his frustrations mounted with each passing week he failed to put his name on the scoresheet.

"It’s been hard for him playing up from on his own to begin with," said Revolution manager Steve Nicol. "That’s never easy for anybody."

Never was it more evident than last Wednesday’s match against Toronto. With three gift-wrapped passes sent ahead to him, Lekic failed to score on each of them, and the striker began to unfairly target his frustrations at his teammates.

"In the last game (against Toronto)," said Lekic. "It was maybe a little bit too much (emotion)."

Saturday night was a different story altogether. With the Revs’ midfielders routinely providing good service to Lekic, the goal that had eluded the Danish striker finally arrived in the 48th minute.

With the Revs down a goal, Pat Phelan pounced on a loose ball near the top of the box and fired a wayward shot that Lekic quickly grabbed, then pushed toward the far post for the equalizer.

"I saw that Pat was going to shoot," said Lekic. "I was thinking if he missed the ball, I was all alone and I can get the ball in a free position and then make the goal hopefully. And that happened.”

While the striker may have had time and space to work with given the number of Fire defenders behind him when he took the pass, Nicol said it wasn’t as easy as it may have looked.

"The finish, on the one hand looks simple, but if you panic it becomes a lot harder,” said Nicol. “But, he kept his cool and just stroked it away and just finished."

While keeping his cool may not be the Danish forward’s forte, he displayed his patience again in stoppage time.

With the Revs desperate to take three points, Lekic took a hold of a Darrius Barnes long throw-in, tipped it up three times, then volleyed it inches wide of the far post.

"It was with the left (foot) and I can’t score with the left (foot),” said Lekic. “It was a good shot, but I can’t score with the left foot, sorry.”

Despite the fact that the shot failed to deliver the go-ahead goal, Nicol was nevertheless impressed by the dazzling effort.

“He almost pulled (that) one out his you-know-what,” said Nicol, with a laugh.

Although Lekic was happy to get the goal-scoring monkey off his back, don’t expect the animated goal artist to tone down his demeanor anytime soon.

"I’m a passionate guy," said Lekic. "And I want to win games -- every game, like the (rest of the) team, but I show it more than the other guys."

Brian O'Connell is covering the Revolution for ESPNBoston.com. He is the co-founder of New England Soccer Today (www.nesoccertoday.com), which covers professional soccer within New England. He can be reached at BOConnell21@aol.com.