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They don’t like their chances

Revolution are aware offense is a problem

By Frank Dell’Apa
Globe Staff / May 9, 2011

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The Revolution’s 0-0 tie with the Colorado Rapids Saturday night marked the team’s first shutout this season and was only the second time it had blanked an opponent in 21 games since last August. But it was not just a result of the defense tightening up or goalkeeper Matt Reis making spectacular saves. The improved possession game, thanks to the addition of Benny Feilhaber and Ousmane Dabo in the midfield, went far in relieving the pressure on the Revolution defense.

The problem, though, was breakdowns near the Rapids’ goal. When the Revolution had open opportunities, they misfired or waited too long to pull the trigger. When they produced well-taken chances, they hit the crossbar.

“We’re doing a little better, but on top of the possession you’ve got to have an end result,’’ Reis said. “You can possess the ball all night but if you don’t create chances you’re going to end up a lot of games 0-0. We’re getting there, but it’s slower than we’d like.

“We didn’t create enough chances and in the end, we’re not as precise — that last pass, we just don’t take care of each other, give each other good balls in the right spots. So we’re working on it but we needed to get the 3 points.’’

The Revolution (2-3-4, 10 points) have scored eight goals and their goals-per-game average (0.9) is third-lowest in Major League Soccer. After the game, coach Steve Nicol said the Revolution are planning to add “more creativity in the midfield’’ during the transfer period, which starts in June.

Until then, the addition of Dabo, an ex-French national team player, could help change the dynamic. Dabo was a big factor in the Revolution’s improvement following a 3-0 loss to Chivas USA April 30.

“It helps us out a ton, we’re not just defending for the whole game,’’ Reis said of the Revolution’s improved ball possession. “If we do lose the ball we’re not losing it in bad spots, we’re losing it at the other end of the field and they have to go through the whole team to create chances. So it is getting better but it’s still not good enough. If we want to compete for the title it’s got to be better. We’ve got to create more chances.’’

The Revolution, who host Vancouver next Saturday, mostly have been out of synch this season. Nicol revamped the back line in an attempt to improve distribution. But the midfield has been slow to evolve. Dabo was injured during the preseason, making his Revolution debut in a US Open Cup match April 26, just after the arrival from Denmark of Feilhaber and striker Rajko Lekic.

Lekic scored the deciding goal in a 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City in his second game with the Revolution. But he has had few chances in his other three appearances.

The Revolution made their most threatening forays against Colorado on the wings after halftime. Sainey Nyassi entered as a substitute on the right side, and combined to set up Feilhaber for a shot off the bottom of the crossbar. Then, in the third minute of added time, Nyassi went around goalkeeper Matt Pickens, but his cross failed to get past defender Tyrone Marshall, with Lekic open at the back post.

“The one at the end kind of sums it up,’’ Nicol said of the Revolution’s offensive failings. “[Lekic] is in the right place to put the ball in the back of the net, but he doesn’t get the pass.’’

Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at f_dellapa@globe.com.

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