New England Soccer Today

Heaps Tips Cap to DC

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

It’s often said that in life, timing everything. The same logic could also apply to soccer, especially when the stakes are as high as they are in postseason play.

Despite falling into an early deficit during their knockout round match against the Revolution, DC United not only responded, but they did so at critical moments to stage a 2-1 comeback win.

“Timely goals are what D.C. is all about, and I give them credit,” Heaps told the media after the match. “I give (DC coach) Ben Olsen a lot of credit, and I tip my hat because it wasn’t a game where we gave in or anything like that. Those guys went out there, in terms of D.C. United, and they fought hard. They had a game on Sunday and they bounced back well.”

The first DC goal came minutes before the end of the first half. With the Revolution clinging to their one-goal lead, which they hoped would survive at halftime, DC struck a cruel blow to when Chris Pontius converted a Fabian Espindola free kick into paydirt to erase that narrow advantage.

“It was huge,” United forward Chris Rolfe told the media after the match. “I think we’ve had a couple of games where we get late goals right before the half that kind of bring us back in it, whether we’re down 2-0 or down 1-0. That’s a game-changer. I think we would’ve been confident coming into the locker room at the half without scoring, but with that goal, obviously, we said ‘it’s for the taking.’”

DC certainly played like the match was theirs for the taking in the second half. They not only won the possession battle, but helped themselves to a number of attacking chances thanks to a disheveled Revolution defense.

In the 75th minute, the pressure exerted by the hosts seemed to reach a boiling point when they were awarded a penalty after Scott Caldwell was charged with a handball inside the box. Role stepped up to do the honors, but his shot smacked off the post to leave the match level.

Said Rolfe: “There was a split second there, maybe a minute or two, after the PK where it was running through my head and I was saying ‘Wow, it’s just one of those days, I don’t know what’s going to happen, I haven’t played 90 minutes in a long time and I don’t know if they’re going to take me out.’ I just cleared my head, tried to stay optimistic and kept making runs.”

The miscue was all but forgotten minutes later, when Rolfe weaseled his way into the final third, received a pass from Espindola, and scored virtually unimpeded in the 83rd minute. And just like that, the Revolution were suddenly down a goal on the road with little time to file a reply.

Although the locals made a shout for the equalizer in stoppage time when Jermaine Jones forced a strong save from Bill Hamid, Heaps couldn’t help but applaud the way DC – and Rolfe, especially – capitalized at the most critical of moments.

“I credit Chris Rolfe’s response; he misses a penalty kick and then scores a goal,” Heaps said. “That’s pretty good from the kid.”

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