Peter Nowak sidestepped the end result of Saturday's 1-1 stalemate against New England to near perfection, but the blatant truth is that this game should have found the 18,147 in attendance celebrating the Union's fifth win of the season.

If that is to say the Revolution lacked intensity, tact and overall pace, then what does that say about the Union, which has a slew of grueling matches on the schedule, beginning Thursday with Eastern Conference leader Columbus?

In a game that was stolen from a tenacious Union side after goalkeeper Chris Seitz misplayed a Marko Perovic free kick in the 71st minute - "That took a bad bounce or hit something," according to Nowak - the tie left many players scratching their heads, the "River End" supporters in a mad frenzy and Nowak darting for the locker room following the obligatory handshake with Revs boss Steve Nicol.

"I think games like today make us stronger mentally and physically," Nowak said. "We have big games coming up and this result today will make them more hungry for a win. [Now] we have the option to manage the lineups as well and give different players minutes, so I think we are ready for a big stretch. It's been good so far, and we're getting stronger every week."

A Sebastien Le Toux goal in the 25th minute on a ball he wrapped to the far post with authority appeared to have gotten the ball rolling (no pun intended). But getting stronger still has not found the Union with a shutout this season nor a contest where Le Toux hasn't been heavily relied upon.

"I actually tried to create some space for myself to either take the shot or lay it to Alejandro [Moreno], who was running on to it," said forward Danny Mwanga, who earned the assist on Le Toux' eighth goal. "But the ball was perfect for Sebastien, so I just tried to get out of his way. Yeah, it was there for me, but I am just glad he scored the goal."

Very few chances came in the first half for either team, due to a mixture of solid defending and inept offense. Listed as a forward, newcomer Eduardo Coudet shared control of the midfield with Fred but the two were met by solid defense from Revs backs Cory Gibbs and MLS All-Star Kevin Alston. Besides his goal, Le Toux had the biggest chance for a go-ahead in stoppage time of the first half with a free kick that appeared to have nicked the crossbar over Revs keeper Matt Reis.

But fouls played out the second stanza, with New England taking the overall edge, 12-10. One charge was so brutal, it left Union midfielder Stefani Miglioranzi needing six stitches.

"It's frustrating. We go up 1-0 and can't keep the result. To be honest, it's getting a little worrisome," Moreno said. "We were the better team today and this was a chance for us to gain some ground in our division.

"It's not too soon to start thinking playoffs and that's what we have to start doing. We need to get these results when they are given to us."

A turning point could come Thursday when the Crew visits PPL Park. It'll be a bit of nostalgia for Moreno, who celebrated an MLS Cup title with Columbus. But for now, the drawing board awaits, especially for Seitz, who is all about putting Saturday's game in the rearview mirror.

"I thought the ball was heading toward the middle but it took a big bounce," Seitz said of New England's goal. "Overall, I am a bit frustrated [with the result]. But we have a lot of games in the next couple of weeks and hopefully we can put some good results together."

For kicks

Shea Salinas said he is slowly recovering from his left fibula fracture. He said he has started using exercise bikes and that he hopes to return "sooner than later" . . . While this won't mean much except to area youth soccer aficionados, local power FC Delco's under-19 team lost in the national championship game to the Columbus Crew Juniors on Saturday. The win made Crew Juniors the first MLS youth reserve team to collect a U.S. Youth Soccer national title.