D.C. United could not solve the New England Revolution, falling 1-0 in a game of very few chances. Brendan Hines-Ike’s own goal in the 48th minute gave the Revolution the win, with United never getting closer than an Andrew Farrell block that cracked off of New England’s goalpost midway through the second half.
Badly short-handed — D.C. is missing 11 players due to injury at the moment — Hernán Losada stuck with the same starting eleven that were on at the start of last week’s 2-1 win over NYCFC. While Andy Najar was left home as a precaution against playing on the hard Gillette Stadium playing surface, United got a welcome surprise as Felipe Martins made an early return from a torn ACL late last August to take a spot among the Black-and-Red’s substitutes.
A scrappy start saw both teams struggle to create shooting chances. By the 29th minute, the game had seen only three shot attempts in total. Gustavo Bou finally forced the first save at either end in the 30th minute, but it was easy work for Chris Seitz.
In fact, the best chance either team carved out in the first half didn’t even amount to a shot attempt: Julian Gressel’s driven diagonal ball in from the right wing appeared set to find Erik Sorga at the back post in the 34th minute, but Andrew Farrell managed to both make the interception and not score an own goal from a tricky spot in the goalmouth.
Sometimes a game like this is broken open by a wonderful piece of skill. Unfortunately for United, this particular game’s deadlock was changed in a fluky, clumsy fashion. Brandon Bye’s cross from the right wing was challenged well by Joseph Mora, and wasn’t going towards anyone in blue. However, an apparent lack of communication between Seitz and Brendan Hines-Ike saw the latter bundle the goal into an empty net under no Revolution pressure in the 48th minute.
Play opened up following the goal, but New England had the best chances, with Carles Gil curling a promising 55th minute shot just wide, and Adam Buksa firing an angled shot wide just a few seconds later as United coughed the ball up twice in their own half within 75 seconds.
New England very nearly returned the favor of the own goal in the 68th minute, with Gressel’s cross being met by a sliding Farrell. This time, though, Farrell’s interception wasn’t as composed, and he ended up sending the ball off the post. Mora collected the rebound, but his shot was blocked.
Losada opted for a triple sub in the 70th minute, bringing in three forwards (Nigel Robertha, Kimarni Smith, and Adrien Perez) and dropping Flores deeper into the midfield. However, United could only really offer up the occasional Gressel cross, none of which quite panned out. Later, United removed Tony Alfaro for Moses Nyeman as they pushed for an equalizer, but the choppy nature of the match continued.
Sadly, the game petered out without a major chance at either end, with the awkward own goal at one end and an awkward near-own goal at the other serving as the game’s two big moments of note. United and the Revolution finished the match with a combined 12 shot attempts, with DCU credited for just one shot on goal.
United will look to be more dangerous next Saturday night, when they’ll face their longest flight of the season as they head west to take on the San Jose Earthquakes in a game set for an 11:00pm Eastern kickoff.
MLS Regular Season - Game 2
New England Revolution 1 (Hines-Ike 48og)
D.C. United 0
Revs (442): Matt Turner; Brandon Bye, Andrew Farrell, Henry Kessler, Christian Mafla (AJ DeLaGarza 54); Carles Gil (C), Matt Polster, Wilfrid Kaptoum (Tommy McNamara 63), Arnor Traustason (Tajon Buchanan 81); Gustavo Bou, Adam Buksa
DCU (3421): Chris Seitz; Brendan Hines-Ike, Frederic Brillant (C), Tony Alfaro (Moses Nyeman 83); Julian Gressel, Russell Canouse, Junior Moreno (Adrien Perez 70), Joseph Mora; Edison Flores, Yamil Asad (Kimarni Smith 70); Erik Sorga (Nigel Robertha 70)
Revs - Traustason 32, Kaptoum 60, Farrell 80, Buksa 89
DCU - Canouse 25, Moreno 58, Hines-Ike 94+