The one-two punch made up of their creative offense and their stingy defense didn't show up for the Revolution on Saturday night, as they settled for a 0-0 draw against DC United. The defense extended its shutout streak to 395 minutes and Bobby Shuttleworth notched his fourth consecutive clean sheet, his seventh this season, but DC United, who entered the game with the league's worst defensive record, kept the Revolution's offense off the scoreboard for the first time since May 2.
"I know there are nights you canít find the back of the net like tonight," explained Revolution coach Jay Heaps. "Our final pass was a little bit off, our spacing was a little too tight and DC, once we got in their final third, they were bending not breaking. I think they did a nice job keeping us out of there half."
The result places the Revolution (5-4-5, 20 points), who also extend their unbeaten run to six games in all competitions, two points out of the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Revolution had the better chances throughout the game, shooting on target more often that their opponents. Aside from a shot that DC's Nick DeLeon put wide of the far post on a breakaway in the eighth minute, the Revolution dominated the first half.
Diego Fagundez, who saw his four-game scoring streak come to an end, played Lee Nguyen into the penalty area in the 18th minute. Nguyen cut past the defender, looked up, and then right-footed a drive just over the crossbar.
In the 20th minute, the Revolution appeared to take the lead off a play by Saer Sene. Juan Toja crossed into the penalty area from the right flank, the ball deflecting off of Juan Agudelo's head as he beat Ethan White to the ball. Sene took control of the ball on the left side of the box and volleyed the ball into the back of the net past DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
The crowd erupted. "The Boys are back" by the Dropkick Murphys, the Revolution's goal song, began playing in the stadium. The end zone militia, who fire their guns whenever the Revolution score, pulled the triggers on their muskets. But as soon as the ball went in the net and the commotion started, referee Ted Unkel called off the goal because he ruled that Agudelo committed a foul while challenging for the ball.
"It was fifty-fifty," explained Agudelo of the play. "We went up for the ball together. I didn't feel like I pushed him off that hard. Maybe it should have been a goal."
"I'm pissed off," admitted Agudelo when asked about the result. "I'm pretty pissed off."
Hamid helped spoil Agudelo and the Revolution's offensive endeavors. He finished the game with four saves, bailing out DC after the Revolution amped up the pressure in the aftermath of having a goal disallowed.
His first big stop came off a first-time shot by Toja in the 31st minute from the top of the box which he palmed over the crossbar. Fagundez tested him again in the 66th minute, dribbling down the spine of DC's midfield and defense before firing a bullet from outside the penalty area that Hamid tipped over the crossbar.
On the ensuing corner kick, Chris Tierney hit the right post after firing a drive from inside the penalty area.
Lee Nguyen (88th minute) and Kelyn Rowe (90th minute), both had late efforts knocked away by Hamid as well.
"When you give Bill Hamid the right cover like that, he is going to bail you out," said Heaps of Hamid's performance. "Not that he had to bail them out: he made two really good saves and I thought they deserved a point."
Shuttleworth agrees with Heaps that Hamid was the key difference-maker for DC.
Obviously, we are disappointed [with the result]," Shuttleworth added. "We had the chances to get three [points]. Credit to [Hamid]. I thought he played really well. Obviously [weíre] disappointed but weíve got to keep moving on.
Shuttleworth had to make just one save, knocking away a low drive by Chris Pontius in the 28th minute. The Revolution defense helped Shuttleworth as well, though both parties were helped in great deal by an abysmal DC offense which put just one of 12 goal scoring opportunities on target.
With finishing like that, it's no wonder DC also entered the game with the league's worst offensive record. But the Revolution defense, as expected, handled DC's strikers with care and delivered a positive a result.
"Every time we step on the field we want to get the shutout, we want to keep the zero," finished Shuttleworth. "The guys have been really, really good. The back line has been super organized like I said. The shape has been good throughout the entire season."
We didnít lose right? We got the draw, so itís not a good result for us, but itís not a loss."
Not matching the defense's production is something the offense will want to avoid doing a second time. The Revolution back line has been solid all season long, but had extra pressure at the beginning of the year when the offense was struggling to score goals. The offense-defense, one-two punch needs to be in full swing if the Revolution hope to solidify their spot in the playoff chase.
"We let [the defense] down today," concluded Agudelo. "They did their job and did not let up any goals...Today the defense was better than [the offense]. We need to be better and I feel like we need to apologize to our defense for working so hard."
The Revolution return to action on Wednesday for an Open Cup game against the New York Red Bulls at Harvard. They then travel to Vancouver to take on the Whitecaps on Saturday.
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