New England Revolution 2, D.C. United 1

Kevin Alston (MLS photo)
Kevin Alston (MLS photo)

They lost again. If you would like to re-live the 15th defeat in 21 matches, the video package is available here.

The best moment of the night was not Luis Silva‘s goal, New England’s response or referee David Gantar sounding the final whistle as Saer Sene charged toward a deserted net. It was Revolution defender Kevin Alston returning to the field — in a venue a few miles from his boyhood home in Silver Spring, Md. — for the first time since being diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia in the spring.

With dozens of family and friends gathered at RFK Stadium, the Good Counsel High School graduate entered in the 84th minute of his club’s 2-1 victory over D.C. United.

“As soon as the game was over, everybody came over to congratulate me and I was trying my hardest not to cry, I was fighting tears,” he said.

Alston, 25, started the first four matches of the season before being diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia — his bone marrow makes too many white blood cells. It’s a treatable condition, and he combats the illness with medication. Two weeks ago, the team activated him from the disabled list.

Alston’s parents are both media people: Larry a business executive at USA Today, Jeanne formerly the director of recruiting and hiring at The Washington Post. Larry was wearing a blue Revs jersey with “Alston” and “30″ on the back at RFK.

“It was awesome,” Revs Coach Jay Heaps said of Alston’s return. “I thought he did great. He is exactly what we needed — a shot of energy. He’s been itching to get on the field and you could see when he came on he was like shot out of a cannon.”

Other match topics …

*I asked Ben Olsen if he had any issue with two calls in the box that United hoped would result in penalty kicks. (In my opinion, the referee made the right decisions by allowing play to continue.)

“Yeah, but I am not going to talk about them. I am going broke,” said Olsen, who was fined $2,000 for a postgame tirade last month. “I’ve got kids to feed.”

*As you will notice in my match report, Dwayne De Rosario criticized unnamed young players for lack of effort and desire. I’m puzzled by the accusation. He praised Jared Jeffrey, who partnered with veteran John Thorrington. Silva scored a sweet goal. Conor Doyle is still learning his teammates’ names. Joe Willis is a goalkeeper, a position that doesn’t require hustle.

That leaves Taylor Kemp, Nick DeLeon and Kyle Porter. Kemp had a rough night, but effort wasn’t the issue. DeLeon and Porter didn’t strike me as uninterested. Porter left with a back/side injury early in the second half; he was treated on the field, returned, but had to leave after continuing to suffer discomfort.

Frustration flows after every loss — and there have been a lot of them this year — but DeRo went in an odd direction with those comments.

*Perry Kitchen (hip pointer) had played all but 17 minutes of the season (99.1 percent) before sitting out tonight.

*Goalkeeper Bill Hamid will soon rejoin the club after spending all of July on U.S. national team duty for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Will he regain his starting job? My guess is: yes. However, as the third-choice U.S. keeper, he has not played in a tournament match. His last real game came June 29 against Vancouver. Olsen, though, needs to get him back into a rhythm next Saturday against the visiting Montreal Impact before the most important game of the summer: the U.S. Open Cup semifinal Aug. 7 at Chicago.

*Silva claimed a share of the team’s scoring lead — two goals — in a span of 40 minutes: a 58th-minute strike in his DCU regular season debut last week and an eighth-minute goal tonight. He is now tied with De Rosario and Lionard Pajoy.

DeRo: “I’ve told him since he got here, ‘Listen, stop looking to pass. You came here to score goals. If you have the opportunity to strike the ball, strike it.’  He’s done it two times and it’s gone into the back of the net.”

*Olsen, on his focus the rest of this lost season:

“I’ve got one eye here, on the week-to-week MLS, to try to continue and tinker and find out which guys are going to be around. I’ve got another eye on the Open Cup, which is a big deal, and finding out what the best team is that we have to put out there. And I’ve got my third eye on the future of this club. I still believe in the future of this club and a bunch of the guys that I have in this locker room.”

*Post writer Marc Fisher takes a tour around Buzzard Point, a forgotten section of the nation’s capital that would be transformed by a soccer stadium.

*For the second consecutive weekend, United and the NWSL’s Washington Spirit played on the same day miles apart against an opponent from the same metro area — and lost. Last week, both clubs were in Chicago. Tonight the Boston teams came to Washington. While United fell to the Revs, the Spirit was trounced by the Boston Breakers, 5-2, in front of 2,607 at Maryland SoccerPlex.

Both D.C. teams are at the bottom of their respective standings. Combined record: 3-27-8.

Goodness, it’s been a long summer …

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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Steven Goff · July 27, 2013

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