FOXBOROUGH, Mass. Zack Schilawski and Shalrie Joseph scored early goals and goalkeeper Matt Reis made five saves to help the New England Revolution secure a 2-1 win over D.C. United on Saturday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
The victory was the Revolutions (1-0-1, 4 pts.) first of the season after claiming a draw last weekend in LA, while the loss was Uniteds (1-1-0, 3 pts.) first setback following a convincing victory over the Columbus Crew. This is the fifth straight year the Revs have won their home opener.
The Revs scored early for the second straight game, taking a quick lead through Schilawskis first goal of the season in the eighth minute. Joseph added a second from the penalty spot in the 17th minute his second of the season while Charlie Davies notched a consolation goal for D.C. with a stoppage-time penalty kick.
Revolution head coach Steve Nicol opted to employ a 4-5-1 formation for the second straight week, but with three changes to the lineup which started last weekends season opener against the LA Galaxy. Right back Kevin Alston and left back Didier Domi returned from injury to replace Darrius Barnes and Chris Tierney on the backline, respectively, while Sainey Nyassi took over for the injured Marko Perovic (L hamstring strain) on the left wing.
It took the Revs only eight minutes to open the scoring, as Schilawskis persistence paid off with an early goal. Joseph began the goal-scoring sequence with a searching pass for Schilawski, who brought the ball down 12 yards from goal. The second-year forwards initial shot was blocked, but he corralled his own rebound and buried his second effort inside the right post.
Joseph put his own name on the score sheet just nine minutes later, converting from the penalty spot after Pat Phelan was taken down by Dax McCarty inside the box. D.C. goalkeeper Pat Onstad stretched to get a hand on Josephs effort, but it was perfectly placed inside the lower right corner to extend the Revolutions lead to 2-0.
The two goals proved to be the only quality scoring chances of the opening 45 minutes, but the remainder of the first half was not without incident. Right midfielder Zak Boggs was replaced by Kheli Dube in the 32nd minute after a midfield collision opened up a gash on his head, while Uniteds Kurt Morsink picked up a 40th-minute yellow card for a shove on Joseph.
D.C. made a pair of halftime substitutions in an effort to shake things up, bringing on Manchester, N.H., native Davies and Brazilian midfielder Fred, with Josh Wolff and Rodrigo Brasesco making way.
The moves appeared to pay dividends as the visitors pressed after the break. Chris Pontius got on the end of McCartys corner kick in the 58th minute, but Alston was well positioned on the right post to clear the danger with Davies looming. Pontius threatened again in the 66th minute, blasting a 20-yard shot over the crossbar after a deft layoff from Fred.
Reis made the save of the game in the 83rd minute, diving full stretch to his left to deny Pontius first-time effort from Davies pull back to the top of the box, but he could do nothing to prevent Davies from driving a penalty into the middle of the goal in the first minute of stoppage time. The penalty was awarded during a scramble in the box following a McCarty free kick.
Davies goal didnt mark the end of the action, however, as D.C.s Dejan Jakovic was shown a straight red card in stoppage time following a skirmish near Reis goalmouth.
The Revs will play their second straight home game next weekend against the expansion Portland Timbers. Kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 2.