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September 15, 2012
Loss to DC eliminates Revs

Kelyn Rowe gave the Revolution a lead they could not hold as they were eliminated from playoff contention Saturday night at RFK Stadium.
Kelyn Rowe gave the Revolution a lead they could not hold as they were eliminated from playoff contention Saturday night at RFK Stadium.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
WASHINGTON DC---The New England Revolutionís 2012 road woes continued as DC United, playing without reigning MVP Dwayne De Rosario, overcame an early Kelyn Rowe goal to eliminate the Revolution from playoff contention and vault past Columbus into fifth place to keep their own postseason hopes alive.

Chris Pontius scored the equalizer for United (13-10-5, 44 points) and assisted on Lewis Nealís second-half game-winner, while Bill Hamid came up with series of late saves to preserve the 2-1 victory at RFK Stadium.

Rowe put the Revolution (7-15-7, 28 points) in front in the 29th minute, with the third goal of his rookie campaign.

Clyde Simms sent a long pass from the defensive end to Jerry Bengtson, who flicked on to strike partner Diego Fagundez. The teenager advanced into the attacking third and weighted a perfect through pass to Rowe, catching the rookie in stride with time to measure a blast off the crossbar and over the line.

Pontius equalized for the home side two just minutes later, collecting a lay-off from Branko Boskovic as he curled back from the left on a United counter-attack and drilling a low strike into the corner of the net from just outside the arc.

Matt Reis, who was coming off consecutive shutouts, came up with a pair of quality saves to keep the game even at intermission.

In the 24th minute, Reis lunged at the last minute to touch away a long free kick that bounced through traffic off the left foot of dead-ball expert Boskovic.

In the 43rd minute, Andy Najar cracked a stinger from distance that Reis knocked down and managed to cover up as Dejan Jakovic bore down on goal.

With Flo Lechner advancing from his right fullback position and Kevin Alston pushing up from the left, the third consecutive game Jay Heaps deployed this set-up, the Revolution brought numbers forward in an aggressive mindset that produced thirteen first-half shots.

In the second half, DC United capitalized on the same strategy to turn the game their way, with Najar marauding forward from his right back position and pinning the Revolution down on that side.

Reis rescued the Revolution again just after the hour mark, denying Maicon Santos at close range after the Brazilian got past Darrius Barnes and tried to finesse a left-footer inside the far post.

But there was nothing Reis could do two minutes later, as Pontius maneuvered past Lechner and found Lewis Neal, who had entered moments earlier for Boskovic, just outside the box.

The English veteran of Stoke City and Preston North End delivered a perfect strike into the corner of the net for his first MLS goal and the DC lead.

Juan Toja made his return to MLS and his Revolution debut, entering along with Benny Feilhaber in the 73rd minute as New England went to a three-man back line in a desperate effort to draw level.

Feilhaber nearly succeeded in the 79th minute, missing just outside the left post after collecting a short free kick from Lee Nguyen.

In the final ten minutes, it was United goalkeeper Hamid who came up with the big saves to allow DC to collect all three points.

First, after Toja chipped over the United back line to an unmarked Rowe, the US U23 and senior international jumped out smartly to smother Roweís attempt.

Then Hamid twice demonstrated lightning reflexes as he denied close-range Feilhaber efforts from inside the box.

Jay Heaps made only one change from the line-up that produced a dominating 2-0 victory over Columbus in Foxborough on September 5th, replacing striker Dimitry Imbongo, who scored the decisive goal against the Crew, his first in MLS, with Bengtson, back after tallying in each of Hondurasí World Cup qualifying matches against Cuba.

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