FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution’s chances of snapping a three-year postseason drought still remain in the balance, as the team drew Real Salt Lake 0-0 in front of an announced crowd of 24,270 at Gillette Stadium Saturday night.
New England (10-10-11, 41 points) outplayed RSL (14-12-5, 47 points), but let several chances to score go begging, which leaves it in the seventh and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with three regular season games remaining.
“Just obviously disappointed we didn’t get three [points],” Revolution defender Andrew Farrell said after the game. “We needed these.”
Carles Gil nearly put the Revolution ahead after just seven minutes, but his curling shot from the right flank bounced off the top of the crossbar. The remaining 83 minutes of play consisted of similar close chances, but New England, which mostly employed a high press, couldn’t find a break through against a rotated Real Salt Lake side that visited Foxborough without playmaking midfielder Albert Rusnak and longtime starting goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
New England, now winless in four matches with just one victory in its last eight, brought Gustavo Bou (knee) on at halftime.
Cristian Penilla volleyed wide of the right post on a breakaway in the 32nd minute, then set Teal Bunbury for an open shot off a left-footed trivela five minutes later, but Bunbury hit the side netting.
In the second half, Bou fired a low drive at net after a layoff from Gil, but his effort was easily corralled by Salt Lake goalkeeper Andrew Putna.
The Revolution’s best chance arrived in the 87th minute when Gil’s free kick from 25 yards found Brandon Bye, whose header from the heart of the penalty area clanged off crossbar. The Revs had one last chance though: A clear shot from dead center inside the penalty area that Bou sent over the bar in the second minute of stoppage time.
Sep 21, 2019; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Revolution midfielder Wilfried Zahibo (23) tries to hold off Real Salt Lake defender Aaron Herrera (22) during the first half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
“Our first half was technically poor, the second half we were much better and certainly Bou helped us there,” said Revolution coach Bruce Arena after the game. “Having said that, we had a couple of chances that could have been in the back of the net.”
New England, now 6-10-6 against Salt Lake all-time, sits two points ahead of Orlando City SC and three points ahead of the Chicago Fire, though the Revolution have one game in hand on both teams.
“Obviously, we know we play our game and get results we’ll be in playoffs,” Farrell added. “It seems like we’ve just been dropping points here and there…here we should have taken this team. Not that they’re a bad team, just that we had more of the ball in the second half and could have scored. We’re still in there, but we’re disappointed we haven’t taken the past couple of games.”