By Kevin Koczwara
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Revolution stayed winless in May, but do get an important point as they drew level with the San Jose Earthquakes, 0-0, in Foxborough. The tie is the second in the month of May for the Revs (2-5-2, 8 pts.), they tied FC Dallas, 1-1, earlier this month, and was much needed as they have lost four in a row recently in all competitions.
Though the game was up and down throughout, either team could maintain pressure in the final third of the field.
“I think the only thing that’s letting us down is that quality in the final third,” said Revolution manager Steve Nicol after the game. “We had numerous occasions where we might have played a better pass, or had a better finish.
“We were disciplined and we defended pretty well, but just that quality was missing in the final third.”
San Jose Manager Frank Yallopp had similar thoughts about his side after the game.
“I thought that we had some good chances to score,” said Yallop.
The lack of goals scored was not save a lack of chances.
Sainey Nyassi had the best chance of the first half in the 43rd minute when he struck the ball from outside the 18-yard box and forced Earthquakes (4-2-1, 13 pts.) goalkeeper Joe Cannon to make a diving save to the far post. Nyassi’s shot came after a nice build-up from the Revolution. They moved the ball on the counter from side to side and Nyassi took his chance, only to be denied.
The Revolution had another golden opportunity in the second half to take the lead when defensive midfielder Joseph Niouky hit the wood work on a blistering shot from outside the 18. Niouky, known more for his persistent fouling — accumulated four yellow cards and one red card thus far this season– than he is scoring abilities, took his chance with the outside of his boot, beating Cannon, but denied by the post.
Cannon wasn’t the only one busy in net. Revolution goalkeeper Preston Burpo had to stymie a few chances from San Jose in the second half.
In the 67th minute, striker Ryan Johnson for San Jose got free and had an open header on net from inside the 18, only to put it right into Burpo’s hands. But the Revs were unable to clear and gain positive possession, so the Earthquakes came right back in the 68th minute. The Revolution cleared the corner, but only as far as the midfield. The ball was flicked back into the box where Quakes defender Bobby Burling was waiting all alone. Burpo came off his line and made a huge stop for the Revolution, saving the shot with his left shoulder, keeping the scoreline at a dead heat.
The Revolution looked at their missed opportunities and feel aggravated as they needed to collect three points tonight instead of the one.
“It probably took us about 10 minutes to get settled, after that, we ran the game,” said Nicol. “I think we deserved to get the three points tonight.”
But sometimes it isn’t about what you deserve, sometimes you need a little luck to help you get what you’re striving for.
“I think it’s the way soccer is,” said Revolution rookie stand out Zak Boggs. “I think sometimes you need to be committed and work hard — which I think we’ve been doing — but sometimes you need some luck too.”
Kevin Koczwara is a contributing writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.