February 26, 2020

D.C. United Game 14 Recap: United grabs away point in scoreless draw

D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid made four saves to blank the New England Revolution tonight, good enough to earn United a 0-0 draw at Foxboro, Mass., before 14,163 at Gillette Stadium. United’s record now stands at 1-10-3, the 6 standings points still worst in Major League Soccer. New England moved to 5-4-5 (20 points) and remain unbeaten in its last five matches (3-0-2).

While United’s winless streak reached 12 matches with tonight’s draw (0-9-3), there were positives for United head coach Ben Olsen and the players to take from the effort. First, holding the Revolution without a goal is quite noteworthy, given United had conceded 24 goals in 13 matches entering tonight, and second, since the Revs had scored 10 goals in their last two matches, including a 5-0 demolition of the Los Angeles Galaxy last week, and a 5-1 win in U.S. Open Cup play.

True, the offense didn’t find a goal, and in fact United had but one shot on goal – by Chris Pontius in the first half that was saved by New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, but the offense did look better. Carlos Ruiz started at forward and was involved in not only trying to find spaces for himself, but in opening spaces for teammates with passes and runs. One second-half pass led to a rush up the left wing and a cross that Pontius couldn’t quite reach for to direct toward goal. It was the type of fluid, quick, and organized attack that hasn’t been seen much this season.

In another instance, Ruiz headed a ball deep back into the midst of the penalty area, but United were unable to capitalize. Ruiz left after 75 minutes in favor of Dwayne De Rosario, who was dropped from the starting lineup. Casey Townsend and Sainey Nyassi also saw minutes as second-half substitutes.

The Revolution weren’t short on offensive potential, and in fact matched United’s mark of 12 total shots, while putting four on goal to United’s one. But often, New England was too cute for its own good. Instead of taking shots from decent range or making smart passes, the Revs were often too creative in and around the United penalty area, allowing the defense to recover and either block shots or clog passing lanes.

Juan Agudelo, who has two goals and two assists since being acquired by the Revs from Chivas USA in early May, was often the target of the New England attack, but he was blanketed by United defenders quite well in most situations, and in others, the passes intended for him weren’t precise and Agudelo had too much work to do to try and create a chance.

This game was mostly absent of the key defensive failures that have featured in much of the 2013 season. The starting back line of Chris Korb, Daniel Woolard, Ethan White, and James Riley played all 90 minutes. Korb and White both received yellow cards in a match that featured four total – two for each side – issued by referee Ted Unkel.

What chances were created were turned aside well by Hamid, who made two saves in short order late in the second half to deny the attempts of Lee Nguyen and Kelyn Rowe to give New England the lead. Scott Caldwell and Juan Carlos Toja had the other shots on goal for New England.

United is back in action on Wednesday at the Maryland SoccerPlex in a U.S. Open Cup match against MLS rivals Philadelphia Union. United returns to MLS action on Saturday, June 15, against Toronto FC (1-7-5) at RFK Stadium. Both upcoming matches start at 7 p.m.

NOTES: Possession in the match was just about even, with New England barely ahead at 50.9%. … United had nine corner kicks to New England’s five. … United were shutout for the ninth time this season and for the third straight league match. … With the scoreless draw, New England still have only allowed 9 goals this season, making the Revs the only team in MLS not to allow at least 10 goals. … United plays the Revs twice more this season – July 27 in Washington and September 21 in Foxboro.

Ed Morgans is a Contributor to District Sports Page, covering D.C. United. For in-game analysis and story notifications, follow him on Twitter @writered21.

About Ed Morgans

Ed Morgans is DC United Page Editor for District Sports Page. Ed worked for The Journal Newspapers (now The Examiner) and covered DC United from 1997-2002. He spent the 2003 season writing for the club’s website. Ed has covered All-Star Games, MLS Cups, CONCACAF Champions Cup, World Cup qualifiers, and international friendlies. He also worked as a blogger at www.bigsoccer.com, the country’s leading soccer message board website. You can follow Ed on Twitter @writerEd21.

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