New England Soccer Today

D.C. Downs Revs

The New England Revolution struck first through Kelyn Rowe in the 29th minute, but defensive miscues and a lack of decisiveness in the final third allowed D.C. United to climb back for a 2-1 victory at RFK Stadium on Saturday night.

New England (7-15-7, 28 points) was officially eliminated from postseason contention with the loss, while D.C. (13-10-5, 44 points) jumped back into the fifth and final playoff spot. The Revolution finished the season series 0-3-0 against United.

The visitors opened the scoring before the half hour mark after a long ball out of the back from Clyde Simms was flicked forward by Jerry Bengtson into the path of Diego Fagundez. Fagundez drew two defenders, then slipped a pass through to an open Rowe who ran into the box and blasted a shot on frame that took a fortuitous deflection off a sliding Chris Korb, leaving D.C. ‘keeper Bill Hamid with no chance. It was the third goal of the season for the 20-year-old rookie and put the Revolution up 1-0.

The lead didn’t last long, however, as inside of three minutes D.C. equalized on a quick counterattack. Branko Boskovic made a great run to the top of the box before laying a pass off for Chris Pontius, who hammered a low shot from 25 yards out, beating a diving Matt Reis and knotting the score at 1-1.

United’s winner would come on another counterattack after Rowe failed to control a long throw by Reis near midfield and Lewis Neal took possession in the 63rd minute. Neal played the ball back to Korb, who found Pontius on the midfield line. Pontius ran nearly all the way to the endline down the left flank, before cutting around two Revolution defenders and finding Neal, who had followed the play with an off the ball run from midfield, at the top of the box. Neal fired a low shot past Reis to put D.C. up, 2-1.

Revolution head coach Jay Heaps made just one change to the line-up that beat the Columbus Crew at Gillette Stadium, 2-0, in the team’s last outing on Sept. 5, with Honduran striker Jerry Bengtson slotting into the line-up in place of Dimitry Imbongo.

Both teams struggled to keep possession in the early going, but it was the Revolution who created more early chances, though the finishing was lacking. Rowe’s opener gave the Revolution a deserved lead, but D.C. looked dangerous — and the Revolution back line looked susceptible — on the counter attack.

Once United got the equalizer, the match could’ve gone either way with Lee Nguyen missing a shot just wide minutes later and Reis making saves on Andy Najar and Maicon Santos before United would score their equalizer.

After falling behind, the Revolution brought on Juan Toja — making his debut — and Benny Feilhaber for Fagundez and Flo Lechner, switching to a more offensive formation in the 73rd minute. The move helped the Revolution put more pressure on D.C.’s back line.

Hamid came up huge in the 85th minute, denying Rowe after Toja played him behind the backline with a perfectly placed ball over the top.

A minute later Hamid denied Feilhaber on a close range header after Imbongo — another second half substitute — whiffed from about six yards out on a great cross from Ryan Guy. The ensuing corner kick found its way to Toja at the top of the box, who volleyed a quick shot. Toja’s effort fell to Feilhaber, who quickly turned at the top of the box to blast a shot on frame, but was again denied by Hamid.

Guy had another chance blocked by Hamid in stoppage time as the Revolution were unable to get a second goal past the impressive D.C. ‘keeper.

The Revolution returns home to face the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium.


  1. risapres

    September 16, 2012 at 8:35 am

    if this match really meant anything to the Revolution and its coach, to have left Toja on the bench for our Guam International summed up the thinking process of JH. This club is spiritually bankrupt and could use a complete house cleaning of its front office and coaching staff.

  2. rick sewall

    September 16, 2012 at 9:15 am

    Agreed. The team also should learn how to kick the ball at the goal. Even though he scored Rowe hasn’t a clue of how to shoot properly. The technique is not taught the right way [if taught at all] at the youth, club, high school, college,and professional levels.

  3. John B

    September 16, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Come on man… Toja couldn’t have started. He was gassed 5 minutes into the game. I thought the team actually played well and played even better with the combos from Lee, Toja and Benny. This may be their starting line up at midfield next week agains NY. And about shooting technique, maybe Rick you can show us how.

  4. W Peter Jones

    September 16, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Hi there The Revs seem to goal shy last night, How many times has Benny taken a shot @ goal and the ball has gone to the side netting, he should have done better? Maybe Mr Heaps should have kept Imbongo up top with the Kid@ the start of the game and then bought Benjston on as a sub .Toja looks the REAL DEAL the MIDFIELD GENERAL working both sides.of the field he did well with not much match practice

  5. rick sewall

    September 17, 2012 at 7:55 am

    I sure as hell can show you all how to shoot a ball. Just name the time and place. Happy to oblige.

  6. rick sewall

    September 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    If a player like Toja is dressed, on the bench and ready to play he should be at least in reasonable condition to play soccer. I would have had him warm up properly and start the game and play into the first half as far as possible. I think it would have given the staff and Rev fans the best chance to evaluate him relative to his style of play and his fitness.

  7. John B

    September 18, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Make a video and put it on here. thanx

  8. rick sewall

    September 18, 2012 at 9:56 pm

    Would I love to, but I stink at anything involved with anything audio visual.
    John B, you will have to settle with the the live in person method. Anyone who has worked with Hubert Vogelsinger for over 40 years and has paid very close attention to his teaching method will know how the ball should be kicked . Sadly, very few coaches have. If you are in doubt, ask Mike Burns, as he went to the Vogelsinger camp sometime in the 80’s. If anyone here wants to learn contact me at 86 Upland, Waban, Mass, 617 527 0128.

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