Leaking Points

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Milton Caraglio’s first two MLS goals put the New England Revolution up 2-0 at halftime, but the New York Red Bulls would have their say in the second half, finding the back of the net twice to leave Foxborough with a 2-2 draw. The draw extends the Revs winless streak to six games and New York’s to seven.

Milton Caraglio scored his first two goals for the Revs on Saturday. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/aduama.com)

A crowd of 18,882 at Gillette Stadium didn’t get to see Red Bulls star and former French International Thierry Henry, who missed the game with an Achilles injury, but instead bore witness to Caraglio, the Revolution’s designated player, opening his goal scoring account with two impressive finishes. Unfortunately for the home fans, the Revs (4-11-11, 23 points) squandered their first half lead for the third straight game en route to drawing the Red Bulls (6-6-14, 32 points).

“I feel very angry because it was an easy match and we ended up making it difficult for ourselves,” said Caraglio through a translator.

Caraglio opened the scoring in the 15th minute after his own deflected pass allowed the striker to get behind the defense and go one-on-one with goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul. Caraglio’s initial effort was poorly placed and saved by Coundoul, but the rebound fell back to the Argentinean, who took a touch around Tim Ream before blasting a shot inside the near post.

Caraglio would double the Revs lead in the 37th minute, this time beating Rafa Marquez to a long free kick from Kenny Mansally and heading it past Coundoul at the near post from about 10 yards.

“[It feels] good [to score my first two MLS goala], but obviously it is a sour feeling because it did not help the team win and obviously there are things we need to work on to prevent this from happening anymore,” said Caraglio.

New York would catch the Revs off guard in the second half pulling one back in the 53rd minute after a long pass from Tim Ream found Dane Richards behind the defense. Richards ran in on goal and slotted it past second string ‘keeper Bobby Shuttleworth to make it 2-1.

Both sides would be reduced to ten men, with the Revs losing Kenny Mansally to his second yellow card of the night in the 55th minute. New England would hold their one goal lead despite the disadvantage until the Red Bulls similarly lost Teemu Tainio to his second yellow in the 69th minute.

Yet after giving up a 90th minute equalizer in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday, there was always a sense that similar heartbreak could happen on Saturday and it did in the 87th minute. Joel Lindpere found space running down the left flank and cut towards the box before sending a low cross in front of goal. Lindpere’s service went through Ryan Cochrane’s legs and found Richards for an easy tap in, earning New York a 2-2 draw.

“Again, déjà vu,” said head coach Steve Nicol. “We’ve lost too many points that we should’ve had in the bag.”

New England made two changes to the line-up that drew 1-1 with the Dynamo on Wednesday – both forced. Shuttleworth filled in for the suspended Matt Reis and Kenny Mansally was moved into the midfield to replace Chris Tierney, who failed to pass a fitness test before the match after suffering and injury in Friday’s practice, with Rajko Lekic returning from injury to start up top.

The lineup seemed to be working for New England as they kept New York on the back foot for most of the first half. Caraglio nearly grabbed his first goal for the Revs in the 4th minute. Kenny Mansally found space on the left flank to drive in a cross towards the far post where the Revs Designated Player headed a shot towards goal. His effort from just a couple yards out bounced off the turf and went high of the net.

In what was the visitor’s first real chance of the match, Rafa Marquez nearly equalized for the Red Bulls in the 35th minute off a Dax McCarty corner kick. Marquez beat his marker, but headed just high of the net from close range.

Caraglio nearly completed a hattrick in the 40th minute. This time Kevin Alston found Shalrie Joseph in the box and the Revolution captain flicked on a header to Caraglio. Caraglio’s first touch bounced off Coundoul, but he couldn’t chip his second effort over the ‘keeper.

The Revs dodged a bullet just before halftime when Dax McCarty was played behind the defense and ran in on goal. Shuttleworth appeared to take down McCarty with his right hand as the midfielder ran towards goal and referee Juan Guzman initially pointed to the spot for a penalty kick, but he changed the call and instead issued McCarty a yellow after consulting his assistant referee.

Shortly after the Revs allowed a goal and went down a man, Benny Feilhaber nearly put the home side back up by two in the 61st minute, blasting a shot towards the upper corner from just outside the box. Coundoul managed to keep it out with a diving save.

”In the middle of the season – when we would get a lead, we would sit back and try and defend but that’s really not the way to go because you invite so much pressure onto yourself that even the best defensive teams are eventually going to give up a goal if you invite that much pressure,” said Feilhaber. “So, we continued playing and we did create a couple chances to go up 3-1

“I think if we go up 3-1, the game is over,” he added. “But yeah, I think there’s definitely more than one [reason] as to why we’re giving those goals.  But whether it’s people getting physically tired, mentally tired, if we’re going to invite that pressure into us then we’ve got to be ready for those balls in the boxes and really keep our poise in the back and we haven’t been able to do that in the last few games.”

At the end of the night the Revs were left to rue their missed opportunities having drawn New York despite outshooting their opponents 14 to 6, including an 8 to 2 advantage in shots on goal. The draw all but assures the Revolution won’t be participating in the postseason this year.

“If I knew the answer [to what the team needs to do differently] I think we would probably be the happiest bunch of guys ever right now,” said Joseph. “I mean, it’s more than three games, if you think about it. We’ve been fortunate that we’ve been able to take leads in the game and we just can’t hang on to the lead. We just don’t do enough to be happy at the end of the game. Another couple of points slip away, and in a couple of months we’re all going to be sad because at the end of this day, we’re not able to get into the playoffs.”

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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