By IAN HOLLIDAY
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Benny Feilhaber drew a penalty and should have had his first MLS goal as the New England Revolution defeated Vancouver Whitecaps FC 1-0 at Gillette Stadium Saturday night.
Shalrie Joseph easily stroked home the penalty kick in the 49th minute for the Revs first goal in 236 minutes. Whitecaps FC defender Wes Knight had tripped Feilhaber in the box a minute earlier after the midfielder had done well to collect a loose ball off of a Revolution throw-in.
After the match, Feilhaber said the ball hadn't set up well for him to shoot, so he tried to draw Knight into the awkward play.
"I don't think I could have shot it," Feilhaber said of the play. "So I faked the shot and the guy bit on it. I took a touch and he stepped right on my ankle … If he doesn't touch me, then I get a touch to the right side and probably shoot the ball there, but once he stepped on my foot I had nowhere to go but down."
The win is the Revolution's first since an emotional 3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City on April 23. The Revs are now 3-3-4 (13 points), while Vancouver falls to 1-5-5 (8 points).
Vancouver's best chance to equalize may have come in the 89th minute, when Long Tan got on the end of a Shea Salinas cross and forced Revolution goalkeeper Matt Reis to save his solid header.
Reis starred for the Revs in his second consecutive shutout. While the 'keeper only had to make one save in last week's scoreless draw against Colorado, Reis more than earned the shutout this week.
Whitecaps FC rookie Omar Salgado had two great chances saved by Reis in the match, one on either side of the half. The U.S. youth international nearly scored from 30 yards out in the 45th minute, catching Reis off guard with a hard, low shot as he fell to the ground.
Salgado forced another good save from Reis in the 70th minute when he headed a cross from Blake Wagner toward the far post.
Vancouver head coach Teitur Thordarson said he thought his players have been playing well during the club's now 10-game winless streak, but making one or two mistakes each game that cost the team a victory.
"We've played seven games in 22 days now," Thordarson said. "There hasn't been much time for training."
Feilhaber should have had a goal of his own in the 55th minute after he and Rajko Lekic had worked a nice give-and-go to spring the midfielder, but the assistant referee's flag was up for offside. Replays showed Feilhaber even with the last defender on the play.
Feilhaber had previously had another good chance in the 18th minute when Jay DeMerit couldn't clear a Chris Tierney cross and the ball bounced to his head. The midfielder's shot deflected just wide off the back of Mouloud Akloul.
Despite fielding a less-than-full-strength squad, Vancouver looked good in the first half, holding possession better than the hosts and generating some quality chances. The Revs improved significantly in the second half, however, and could easily have stretched their lead before the final whistle.
Revolution head coach Steve Nicol said he was pleased with his team's performance in the second half, after a slow start to the first.
"In the first half, without a shadow of a doubt, we just encouraged them by giving the ball away," Nicol said. "The second half was better … We're looking to do more of that."
Vancouver's whirlwind start to the season continues with the club's eighth match in 25 days Wednesday night with the first leg of its Canadian Championship Final at home against Toronto FC. New England will take a road trip of its own next week, traveling to California to take on the San Jose Earthquakes Saturday night.