New England Soccer Today

Record Futility

17-year-old Diego Fagundez made his second start of the season on Saturday. (Photo: Walter Silva)

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution set the club record winless streak on Saturday night, failing to win their tenth straight match in playing to a dire scoreless draw with the Philadelphia Union at Gillette Stadium in front of 11,841.

The Revolution’s previous high winless run was nine games in 2011 and 1999. New England (6-14-7, 25 points) remained in ninth place, one point behind the Philadelphia (7-13-5, 26 points), with the draw.

“It was good to get a shutout,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps. “I thought [Revolution goalkeeper] Matt Reis had a good game. Unfortunately I don’t think we created enough chances to win the game, but on a positive we got the shutout.”

In addition to the winless run, the match also marked the 10th time the Revolution failed to score in a match this season, tying a club record. New England was also shutout in 10 matches in 2011, 1999 and 1997.

New England left both Chris Tierney and AJ Soares out of the game day eighteen due to injuries, replaced by Florian Lechner and Darrius Barnes, while Diego Fagundez replaced Saer Sene, who will miss the rest of the season with an ACL tear.

“Soares was out with concussion-like symptoms because he got elbowed in the back of the head [on Wednesday] that wasn’t called … Tierney had a little bit of tightness, but both those guys have played a lot of minutes,” said Heaps.

A dire first half saw zero shots for the Revolution, while the Union maintained 69.2% of the possession and created a few half chances.

“Some games you have a good attack and some games you just can’t do it,” said Fagundez.

After an opening 20 minutes devoid of opportunities, Sheanon Williams had the visitors first chance in the 23rd minute. The Boston native brought down the ball just outside of the box before curling a shot on frame, but Reis was well positioned to make the save.

Philadelphia threatened again in the 43rd minute. First Antoine Hoppenot got into the box off a through ball from Brian Carroll and blasted a shot on frame, forcing Reis to push it wide for a corner. On the ensuing set piece Freddy Adu found Amobi Okugo, who headed a shot towards goal that was denied only by the crossbar.

That was the extent of the first half opportunities.

It was the Revolution again on the back foot to start the second half with Adu playing Hoppenot into a breakaway. Hoppenot ran in on goal, but his effort was denied by Reis.

“Oh, Matt (Reis) was huge,” said defender Darrius Barnes. “Matt saved us on a bunch of occasions. There were times we thought a couple of their players were offside and Matt bailed us out. He’s been bailing us out all year, he’s come up with big saves and that’s what we expect from our veteran keeper.”

Reis again came up big in the 51st minute after Danny Cruz saw a shot blocked at the top of the box. The ball fell to Hoppenot, who flicked it to Brian Carroll near the penalty spot. With space in front of goal, Carroll took a shot, but Reis was quick off his line to block it wide.

“[Reis] was our best player,” said Heaps. “For me he made good saves, he came out for crosses, made some plays. It wasn’t an easy night for him and he did well.”

The Revolution finally had their first shot of the match in the 61st minute as Benny Feilhaber found Stephen McCarthy with a free kick. McCarthy’s effort, however, was well off frame.

New England followed that up with weak efforts on frame from Kevin Alston and Lee Nguyen in the 64th and 69th minutes, respectively, but Zac MacMath made the easy saves.

Kelyn Rowe eventually forced MacMath into a difficult save in the 85th minute after a Union attempted clearance deflected off Dimitry Imbongo and fell to Rowe at the far post. Rowe blasted a shot on frame, but MacMath dove to keep the ball out.

From there, the two teams were unable to test the other’s goalkeeper again before the final whistle.

New England returns to action on Wednesday, September 5, with a home match against the Columbus Crew at 8 p.m.


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