Caldwell makes up for rookie mistake

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- For someone who’s made the right play so often this season, it didn’t seem fair that rookie Scott Caldwell was cast into the spotlight for an uncharacteristic mistake during Saturday’s 2-1 Revolution win over D.C. United.

In the 11th minute, Caldwell accidentally punched a Luis Silva cross into his own net to give last-place D.C. United -- who entered Saturday’s contest with only four road goals this season -- a shocking early lead.

“At the last second, I saw Matt (Reis) was coming (toward the ball),” Caldwell said. “I just really didn’t have time to react and let go. I still thought I could’ve won the ball, but I misplayed it. I couldn’t do anything about it.”

But instead of reflecting upon his misfortune, the 22-year-old holding midfielder looked for any and every opportunity to put it behind him.

“I just tried to get on the ball as much as possible and forget about it,” Caldwell said. “I tried to get another quick touch in, complete a couple of passes just to get my mind off of it, and move on to the next play.”

And that’s exactly what Caldwell did as the game progressed. He shook off his early error and went on to complete 37 of his 43 passes (86 percent), and recorded 11 recoveries, the most among Revolution midfielders on Saturday.

As the Revolution searched for the equalizer and game-winner in the second half, Caldwell continued to make smart passes to teammates and facilitate the attack. It was the Scott Caldwell that the Revolution had so often relied upon to help grease the wheels when New England had possession.

“Here’s a kid who we’ve asked so much from this year and every day, whether it’s training or in the game, (he) steps on the field and performs,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps said. “And tonight, I thought he was instrumental in the second half.”

Not that Heaps -- who reminded the media that he, too, was guilty of a few own goals during his playing days -- was surprised by the way his rookie midfielder responded after the error gave the guests the early advantage.

“Own goals happen,” Heaps said. “Own goals mean you’re defending, and he’s trying to let down the play. No one wants to put it in ... I knew he was going to handle it well.”

After the game, Caldwell had no qualms discussing his mistake. He accepted the blame, and even took some lighthearted ribbing from his teammates about scoring his “first” professional goal all in stride.

But, as he is often wont to do, Caldwell was quick to praise his teammates’ efforts. He credited them, and the collective spirit behind the comeback win, which put the Revolution back into the fifth and final postseason spot in the East.

“We had to win the game or else we’d drop further back. From here on out, every game is a must-win,” Caldwell said. “We have to play to win every game and get as many points as possible.”