The Black-and-Red earned their first points on the road of the 2017 season last night in Foxborough. They played the New England Revolution to a 2-2 draw, doing so with several changes to their starting 11. It would of been great for them to get the full three points on the road and they were up 2-1 at one point, but they weren’t able to keep the Revs from responding.
Missing were Nick DeLeon, Taylor Kemp, Steve Birnbaum, Jose Ortiz, and Luciano Acosta. While Ortiz and Acosta did in fact play, they were part of the 18, they didn’t start as they had done the past two contests. The absence of DeLeon, Kemp and Birnbaum left Bobby Boswell as the only regular starter for the backline from the previous game. Joining Boswell were Kofi Opare, Max Tissot, and Sean Franklin.
Communication was key not only for the backline, but in midfield as well. Patrick Nyarko is still out, Lamar Neagle got the start opposite Lloyd Sam and the central midfield was missing a key piece in Acosta. Marcelo Sarvas joined Ian Harkes, and Jared Jeffrey in the middle.
It was a very slow start for the visiting D.C. United, they conceded a goal to Lee Nguyen. While Nguyen scored the goal, it was Kei Kamara providing the service with a beautiful bending ball that found Lee at the far post.
In the 14th minute, Ian Harkes got on the end of a failed clearance and fired a blistering shot to the far post from outside the box. It was struck extremely well and got behind the lunging Cody Cropper, but it hit the goal post. The Black-and-Red scored the equalizer in the 26th minute as Marcelo Sarvas played a ball into the box, intended for Kofi Opare. Kamara won the header, but no one on New England got to the ball to clear it. Jared took the ball off the bounce and struck it, didn’t settle it down first either, the shot was placed in the low corner and Cropper could only manage to get a hand on it.
Sebastien LeToux who started up top for Ortiz, scored just two minutes later for D.C. United. He was able to get behind the defense and showed his experience and class by chipping the ball over the charing keeper to give his team a 2-1 lead on the road.
Unfortunately for the Black-and-Red, that lead didn’t last long. Kellyn Rowe played a great ball to the far post, a Revolution player got a head on it and the ball was struck down to the near post. Sean Franklin was marking his man and tried to get a foot on it, unluckily perhaps, as the ball went off his foot and into the net for an own goal.
Still, D.C. United created a few chances for themselves to leave with the full three point result. Lamar Neagle took a service from Sam and put it on frame, his header got over Cropper, but Nguyen headed it off the line as he was standing behind the keeper on the far post.
What would any game involving D.C. United be without Bill Hamid providing a few heroic saves? He had a big one in the 73rd minute as Kamara had the ball 1v1 with Opare and got off a great shot, but Bill was able to get both hands on it. The Revolution and Teal Bunbury specifically blew a big chance to go up 3-2 in the 81st minute.
A gorgeous ball was placed into the box and Kamara got great contact on his header and it rattled the post, Hamid dove to get the header and when it hit the post and bounced off, he was left out of position. The ball rolled to the feet of Bunbury and he had virtually an open net with just Tissot in front of him. He went to fire a shot with his left foot, but everything went wrong and the ball trickled off his foot with no power at all and rolled out of bounds for a goal kick.
D.C. United would have a chance late as the game had three minutes of stoppage time as Ortiz got behind two defenders, working extremely hard to get that position, but couldn’t get enough weight over the ball to prevent it from sailing. Despite everything that transpired, the Black-and-Red head back home with their first road points of the year. They will be on the road yet again next week as they travel to Atlanta.