By Danny Picard
FOXBORO -- Two games into the 2011 season, the New England Revolution know they still have a lot of area to improve in, but if they keep picking up points, while improving, Revs coach Steve Nicol admits, "that's perfect."
The Revolution didn't play a perfect game on Saturday against D.C. United in the team's home opener at Gillette Stadium, but they got some early breaks that gave them enough cushion to earn three points in an imperfect game.
New England took a 2-0 lead just 17 minutes in, thanks to goals from Zack Schilawski and Shalrie Joseph, and were able to hold on for a 2-1 win after a late D.C. goal from Charlie Davies.
That's four total points for the Revolution, in just two games, and a 1-0-1 record to show for it. With a team that's young, and still has a lot of work to do, that 1-0-1 record to begin the season was the cause of many smiles in New England's locker room on Saturday night.
"It's huge," said Schilawski. "That was the goal before the game, obviously. We felt like, if we could get a win here, four points out of two games, this would be a good start for us, and we'd feel confident going out there the rest of the way."
Schilawski put the Revs up 1-0 in the eighth minute, when his second effort on a shot in the box paid off. Schilawski's original kick was blocked, but it came back to him for a second chance, and he put it away for the early 1-0 lead at home.
But perhaps he shouldn't have even got the first chance.
Joseph sent a cross pass into Schilawski, who seemingly hit the ball with his hand before the initial kick. No call was made, and the Revs won't complain.
"On the first one, I think we probably got away with one there," said Nicol after the win. "I think most people on the ground, saw what happened."
Everyone saw what happened nearly 10 minutes later, as Joseph was rewarded a penalty kick in the 17th minute, and a chance to put New England up 2-0.
Joseph decided to take a low, hard shot to the right side, and even though D.C. goalkeeper Pat Onstad dove the correct way, the ball just got a piece of his fingertips and had enough power on it to go into the back of the net.
"Just trying to tuck it in the corner. I know once I get it in the corner and put a little bit of power in it, it's going to be hard for Onstad to save it," said Joseph. "He guessed the right way, but I put enough power into it, and it went in for me."
For those goalkeepers taking notes, Joseph said his scouting report shouldn't read "low-right."
"I think that's probably the second time I went there," said Joseph. "That's probably the second time I went to that side. I just felt like I wanted to put it at that side. I don't have a favorite side, but I just wanted to go that way."
Charlie Davies cut New England's lead to 2-1 in the first minute of extra time, but it was too little, too late for D.C. Still, it was a sign that the Revs have more work to do.
"Getting that point last week on the road, we dug deep," said Joseph. "Sometimes we have to defend, we had 11 guys behind the ball last week. Tonight, we played a really attacking style, a very physical style. And I think if we do that every week, we can definitely make some noise.
"But this team is young. We've still got a lot of growing to do, and this is just step one in the process of what we're trying to do."
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.