|The Revolution’s A.J. Soares can’t keep Portland’s Brian Umony from the ball in the second half. (Winslow Townson/Associated Press)|
Revolution let opportunity pass
Disjointed outing costs team points
FOXBOROUGH — The Revolution still have not trailed in 270 minutes of competition this season, but they fell short of expectations in squandering a first-half advantage in a 1-1 tie with the visiting Portland Timbers last night.
The Revolution (1-0-2) delivered a chaotic attacking performance, their passing becoming increasingly hectic and inaccurate after Stephen McCarthy produced the opening goal in the 22d minute.
Jack Jewsbury equalized in the 39th minute as the Timbers (0-2-1) earned their first point in an MLS game.
“Against a team like that, you’ve got to keep the ball on the ground,’’ Revolution midfielder Pat Phelan said. “That killed us. Hopefully, those 2 lost points won’t come back to bite us in October.’’
The Revolution started the match in a 4-5-1 alignment, sending wide midfielders Zak Boggs and Sainey Nyassi into attack.
Nyassi’s runs on the left wing paid off in setting up the opening goal. The sequence leading to McCarthy’s first goal as a professional started with Jake Gleeson tipping a Nyassi shot off the crossbar for a corner. Boggs’s centering pass was cleared directly to McCarthy, who volleyed a shot from outside the penalty area.
Though the Revolution threatened on a Phelan chip to a charging Zack Schilawski (28th) and a Shalrie Joseph deflected drive (30th), they mostly failed to retain possession after that, allowing Portland room to retaliate.
Kenny Cooper set up the tying score, running diagonally for about 40 yards before slotting the ball to Jeremy Hall in the penalty arc. Hall then laid off for Jewsbury to send an uncontested left-footed shot past Matt Reis.
“You encourage people like Shalrie to get in the penalty [area] when he can,’’ Revolution coach Steve Nicol said. “But when he does and you give the ball away so cheaply, that means people are out of position.
“It was a rotten goal. We got caught up, half a leg short here, half a leg short there, just a horrible goal — that kind of summed up the game.
“We just didn’t have any passing. Let’s be honest, very few times we actually put three or four passes together and, any time we did, we actually nearly created things. But it was few and far between. It certainly wasn’t regular enough.’’
As the game continued at a frenetic pace, both teams had chances to break the tie.
The Revolution went to a 4-4-2 setup as Kenny Mansally entered in the 58th minute.
A Kevin Alston giveaway led to a Portland free kick, Kalif Alhassan’s shot hitting the left post in the 70th minute.
Nyassi broke in on goal after a give-and-go move with Mansally, but mis-hit the shot in the 79th minute.
“Even after they scored, I thought we had opportunities,’’ Phelan said. “We just lacked a little life. We were kind of too nice at times. Opportunities were there, we just didn’t take it — in that final third that aggressive nature wasn’t there.
“I think we’re impatient and, when we do get the ball on the ground, we make the wrong decision a lot of times.
“It’s something to work on. We knew it was going to be a problem, we’ve just got to get better at it.’’
The Revolution visit Vancouver Wednesday and host Real Salt Lake next Saturday.
“It was an ugly game from the start,’’ Revolution defender Ryan Cochrane said. “A lot of long balls, and I don’t think either team had great possession. These are the kind of games that are going to happen throughout the season and you’ve got to get something out of it.
“Credit the guys for not going down and getting at least a point out of it.
“Obviously, we want to take 3, but we’ve got two games coming up pretty quick here, so that’s good because it gives us a chance to move on fairly fast.’’
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at email@example.com.