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NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION

September 1, 2012
DEEP DESPAIR
Revs 0-0 draw with Union marks new low

By Adam Burrows
New England Soccer News Contributor

Solid play by Matt Reis was the lone bright spot in what was otherwise a woeful performance by the Union against Philadelphia on Saturday night.
Solid play by Matt Reis was the lone bright spot in what was otherwise a woeful performance by the Union against Philadelphia on Saturday night.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
FOXBOROUGH, Mass---In a season that has plunged deeper into despair with each passing week, the New England Revolution’s performance at home against the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night marked a new low.

The ninth-place Revolution (6-14-7, 25 points) and the eighth-place Union (7-13-5, 26 points), both well outside the Eastern Conference playoff picture, slogged to a scoreless draw that provided little in the way of entertainment or encouragement.

In failing to win for a franchise-record tenth consecutive game, the Revolution did not put a single quality shot on goal until the 89th minute, did not earn their first corner kick until the 80th minute, and only managed to claim a point because of solid netminding by Matt Reis and Union ineptitude in front of goal.

New England was coming off a midweek draw against Chivas in Foxborough that saw them squander an early three-goal lead, and it seemed they hadn't yet shaken off the disappointment, as they were able to summon little energy or imagination in a lackluster first half.

The Revolution failed to produce a single shot in the forty-five minutes and ceded the bulk of possession and all the scoring opportunities to the visiting Union, who had also suffered midweek disappointment, surrendering a stoppage-time winner to Columbus at PPL Park.

Reis managed to keep the game level with solid play in goal and New England also got help from the woodwork.

In the 32nd minute Michael Farfan got around Kevin Alston, playing in an unfamiliar left back role, and delivered a low cross into the six-yard box that Reis was able to swat out of danger then pounce upon before the Union could do any damage.

Reis came off his line seven minutes later to punch away a searching long cross from Gabriel Farfan then blocked a near-post effort by French-born Princeton graduate Antoine Hoppenot.

Philadelphia’s best chance came in the closing minutes of the desultory half when an Amobi Okugo header off a corner kick crashed off the crossbar.

The Union had a golden opportunity moments from the break as Hoppenot penetrated up the middle of the Revolution defense and found himself one-on-one with Reis, but the 37-year-old ‘keeper cut down the angle and made the kick save from a low split.

Reis again came to the rescue in the 51st minute, denying Brian Carroll after the veteran midfielder charged onto a clever heel flick from Hoppenot in the box.

Kelyn Rowe, who replaced Fernando Cardenas before the hour mark, had the Revolution’s first legitimate chance of the night in the 85th minute, sliding from the right onto a ball that had deflected through the box but driving it just outside the post.

Late substitute Dimitry Imbongo had the Revolution’s second scoring opportunity as stoppage time began, turning thirty yards from goal and firing a riser that grazed over the crossbar.

Reis punched away a well-placed Union corner kick and nothing further of note happened until referee Drew Fischer did the merciful thing and blew the final whistle.

With the match the Revolution’s third in a twelve-day, four-game stretch, Jay Heaps gave Chris Tierney and A.J. Soares, both banged up, the night off, tapping defenders Flo Lechner and Darrius Barnes for their fourth starts of the season.

Heaps also switched up the midfield, exchanging Rowe and Ryan Guy, who had each started the last two matches, for Cardenas and Benny Feilhaber.

And with 11-goal striker Saer Sene out for the season with a torn left ACL suffered against Chivas on Wednesday, Diego Fagundez was given his second start of 2012, his previous one coming on June 23rd in Toronto, but the energetic teenager faded after a promising start.

There were 11,841 fans at Gillette Stadium who endured the sad spectacle in silence. The Sons of Ben, the Union supporters group that usually provides strong presence on the road, stayed home. Someone must have tipped them off.
   
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