Capital Defeat


D.C. United ended their 15 MLS game winless streak with a 2-0 win against the New England Revolution on Saturday night at RFK Stadium.  In ending their disastrous run of form, United got plenty of help from the visitors as Revolution captain Jose Goncalves gifted D.C. a lead with a 43rd minute own goal that proved to be the game winner.

United capped off their victory with a goal from Chris Rolfe deep into stoppage time in his D.C. debut on a powerful, but poorly placed shot that managed to elude the grasp of goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.

The loss was the Revolution’s third in five games this season as the team fell to 1-3-1 (4 points) and currently sit seventh in the Eastern Conference. United (1-2-1, 4 points), who got their first league win since August 3, 2013, jumped ahead of the Revolution into sixth place on goal differential with D.C.’s -2 differential beating out New England’s league worst -6 differential.

With Kelyn Rowe still sidelined with a hamstring strain, head coach Jay Heaps used the same starting XI and bench that won 2-1 at the San Jose Earthqyakes last week. The team got off to a decent start limiting the home side’s chances, but struggled to create many opportunities of their own.

A back-and-forth opening period surprisingly didn’t produce any dangerous shots until the 22nd minute. Some good build-up play sprung Diego Fagundez into the box and the 19-year-old hit a low shot targeted for inside the far post. D.C. ‘keeper Andrew Dykstra managed to tip the ball and the rebound fell to Saer Sene. The French striker was unable to direct his effort on frame and saw his shot go into the side netting.

New England had another chance on a 33rd minute counterattack as Sene got the ball and beat the defense. Sene ran towards goal and attempted a shot under pressure from just outside the box, but his shot was high of the target.

D.C. would grab the game’s first goal in the 43rd minute when the ball fell to Spanish left back Cristian on the left flank. Cristian sent a cross towards the penalty area, where Jose Goncalves, seemingly under little pressure, failed at an attempted clearance, instead directing it past Shuttleworth into his own net.

Both sides came out with unchanged line-ups for the second half and it was the Revolution with the best early chance in the 50th minute when Teal Bunbury picked off a pass from Cristian, dribbled around Boswell at the top of the box and attempted a curling left footed shot. Bunbury’s effort was just high of the target.

Bunbury had another chance in the 56th minute, this time after some nice work by Chris Tierney down the left flank. Bunbury tried to one time a shot from inside the box, but missed wide.

Three minutes later it was Bunbury again with an opportunity, but after some nice work to find an opening in the box, he again fired wide.

Fagundez then had an impressive shot in the 73rd minute, attempting a bicycle kick on a Chris Tierney shot. The Leominster native didn’t connect cleanly and his effort went wide of the net.

Eddie Johnson then had D.C.’s first real chance of the half in the 77th minute, but shot wide of the far post after making a nice run into the box.

Shuttleworth finally made his first save of the match in the 80th minute and it was a spectacular one as Eddie Johnson beat the offside trap and got behind the defense. An onrushing Shuttleworth managed to block the shot and keep the deficit at one.

The Revolution pressed late, but was unable to find an equalizer. Substitute Charlie Davies was yellow carded for simulation in the 88th and Heaps was subsequently ejected for arguing with the officiating crew.

United then finished off the game deep into stoppage time when a long ball found an open Chris Rolfe as the Revolution pushed numbers forward. Rolfe, making his D.C. debut after a trade from Chicago earlier this week, got into the box and hit a shot on frame that seemed too close to Shuttleworth. Shuttleworth got down to make the save, but couldn’t stop the shot as it trickled past him into the net inside the near post. The goal was Rolfe’s eighth career strike against the Revolution, tied for his most against any MLS club.

New England returns home to face the Houston Dynamo at Gillette Stadium on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.

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About Sean Donahue

Sean Donahue has been covering the New England Revolution since 2002 for various publications. He has covered four MLS Cups, in addition to covering various international matches, including World Cup Qualifying and the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He has done freelance work for the AP and ESPN Boston. Sean hosted Revolution Recap, a weekly radio program covering the New England Revolution and U.S. Men's National Team from 2005-2008. He is a member of the North American Soccer Reporters. Sean can be reached at nesoccertoday@gmail.com or followed on twitter @SeanLDonahue