New England Soccer Today

Déjà vu

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – A dream start and a nightmare finish bookended what was otherwise a distinctly mediocre performance for the New England Revolution that fittingly ended in a 1-1 tie with the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night at Gillette Stadium.

Reis put in a man of the match-worthy performance for the Revs on Saturday until seeing a red card after the final whistle. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

After a period of sustained offensive pressure from the Revs (4-11-10, 22 points), center back Ryan Cochrane gave the home side the lead with an easy tap-in off a deflected shot from Milton Caraglio. The Dynamo (7-7-11, 32 points) would score in similar fashion in the 90th minute with center back Bobby Boswell taping in the rebound from a Carlo Costly header.

“To lose the two points in the 90th minute obviously sticks in the throat,” said Revs head coach Steve Nicol. “But if we’re honest we were under a lot of pressure tonight and we stood up well, but we just couldn’t hang on at the end.”

Things turned ugly at the final whistle after Adam Moffat knocked Pat Phelan to the ground after attempting to chase down a long ball that was headed out of bounds. Revs goalkeeper Matt Reis took offense to the incident, shoving Moffat and subsequently arguing with the referees. Reis was handed a straight red card after the final whistle, while Moffat was handed second yellow and subsequent red. Both will miss at least one game due to suspension.

The Revs took the lead in just the fourth minute after a dangerous Chris Tierney free kick was tipped wide by goalkeeper Tally Hall for a corner kick. Tierney played the ensuing corner short to Benny Feilhaber, who launched a cross into the box, finding Caraglio. Caraglio brought the ball down under pressure and hit a quick shot.

Caraglio’s effort was deflected and rolled across the goal line, where Cochrane, who was on the Dynamo last season, was there to easily tap it in. The goal was Cochrane’s first for the Revs and first since 2008.

“I don’t think we’re happy with what happened, obviously, but on a personal level – in the moment – it’s good to get that goal against your old team,” said Cochrane. “Obviously, it means a little bit more than any other goal I would score.”

But despite a fantastic effort from Reis – featuring a season high nine saves – that kept the Dynamo off the board just shy of 90 minutes, there was little the veteran ‘keeper could do to stop Houston’s eventual equalizer from coming just shy of stoppage time. A Dynamo corner was delivered by Brad Davis to Costly, who powered a header on frame that Reis managed to keep out with a fantastic save. No one was there to clear the rebound, however, allowing Boswell to easily tap it into the back of the net.

Head Coach Steve Nicol trotted out a new formation for the match, going with a straight 4-4-2 while leaving defensive midfielders Stephen McCarthy and Phelan on the bench. Shalrie Joseph was partnered alone with Benny Feilhaber in the center of the midfield with Chris Tierney and Zak Boggs on the wings. Caraglio and Kenny Mansally started up top, while Kevin Alston, A.J. Soares, Cochrane and Darrius Barnes made up the defense.

“It worked good,” said Joseph. “Offensively we kept the ball. Me and Benny, we are both composed and we both like having the ball, so that allowed the team a little bit more composure, especially in the middle of the park, and it allows us to keep possession.”

“Defensively we give up a little bit with Pat and Stephen not being there, but I think we’re willing to sacrifice that because we’ve been defending as a team way too much,” he added. “Through 90 minutes we’ve probably been defending a good 60 – 55 minutes and you can’t do that. You can’t allow teams all that possession. You can’t allow teams all that time on the ball.”

Just a couple minutes after the Revs took the lead Bobby Boswell nearly equalized for the Dynamo. The center back rose up to head a Dynamo cross on frame, but Kevin Alston was there to clear it off the line.

Reis was called upon twice in the 25th minute to preserve the Revs lead. First the veteran ‘keeper denied a powerful Je-Vaughn Watson header from a Geoff Cameron cross. Seconds later Reis pushed aside a long shot from Adam Moffat that was targeted for the upper corner.

And Reis again played hero in the 40th minute, tipping a header from Geoff Cameron over the bar after the North Attleboro, Mass. native rose up to meet a corner from Brad Davis.

“[Reis] was huge,” said Joseph. “Definitely man of the match. This was probably the best I’ve seen him this year as far as I can remember. He just kept us in it. He made huge saves from the beginning of the game.”

Houston should have easily equalized just before halftime when Jermaine Taylor broke free on the left flank and sent a low pass across goal. His service eluded Reis, but found a wide open Cam Weaver who shot high of the open net from about a yard out.

Cameron was denied by Reis for the second time in the 56th minute. This time a deflected long cross was headed back by Weaver to Cameron near the penalty spot. Cameron sent a shot towards the lower corner, but Reis managed to tip it wide with a diving save.

But Reis could only bail out the Revs for so long and the eventual equalizer ended all realistic hopes of a miraculous late season playoff run. Reis’ subsequent red card and suspension further hurt the Revs chances of gaining anything from the upcoming match with the rival New York Red Bulls on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

“It’s really tough,” said Soares. “We needed three for the standings, we needed it for the spirit too, but that being said we’re going to drop this game tonight and we’re going to move on to New York for Saturday. It’s a quick turnaround.”

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