FOXBOROUGH — It appears as though Charlie Davies’s long, arduous climb back to form may finally be coming to an end.
A rash of injuries has sidelined Davies since his return to Major League Soccer in 2013, but little by little he has shown signs of his old self. An assist on July 30 was his first in MLS since May 4, 2011, with D.C. United. The following game against the New York Red Bulls, he scored his first goal since Sept. 10, 2011.
On Saturday night at Gillette Stadium, Davies notched his second goal in as many games, in the 27th minute against the Portland Timbers.
“It’s obviously a work in progress with me,” Davies said. “But I think I’ve definitely gotten over the hump of feeling like I might be on the verge of another little tweak or a little injury. I’m starting to feel fit.”
Despite Davies’s resurgence, the Revolution continue to struggle. After carrying a 1-0 lead into halftime, a defensive breakdown cost New England midway through the second half as it played the Timbers to a 1-1 draw.
The tie gives the Revolution (8-12-3, 27 points) 4 points in their last 11 contests.
“We let Portland get a result today,” Davies said. “We had a lot of chances — we had the space, we had the time. We just didn’t capitalize in the final third.”
After an aggressive first half on offense, the Revolution began the second half on the defensive as the Timbers (7-7-10, 31 points) found offense from an unlikely scorer.
In the 66th minute, a New England turnover at midfield was collected and carried along the left wing by Liam Ridgewell. The central defender blazed past two Revolution players and sent a low shot past Bobby Shuttleworth as Portland knotted the game.
An 11-year veteran of the English Premier League, Ridgewell’s goal was his first since joining the Timbers on June 25.
“I haven’t see it yet on film — we’ll go back and watch it — but live, it was a center back beating two or three guys when we have 3 points on the line,” said Revolution coach Jay Heaps. “And we have to be better there.”
Portland nearly claimed the lead two minutes later as the Timbers broke toward Shuttleworth on a two-man breakaway. Maximiliano Urruti drew Shuttleworth out of the net before dishing the ball to Gaston Fernandez, but an eager Fernandez was called offsides with nothing before him but an open net.
Having treaded water for most of the second half, New England slowly began to find its rhythm again late in the contest.
In the 77th minute, Daigo Kobayashi curled a pass that arced around the Portland defenders to rookie Patrick Mullins, who came in as a sub for Davies in the 75th minute.
The forward gathered the pass with his first touch, but his second touch got away from him as Portland goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts rushed out and covered the ball.
Just over a minute later, Kelyn Rowe trotted in along the right wing on a 3-on-2 before sending a rocket in on goal that Ricketts punched wide of the frame.
With both teams jockeying for playoff position in their respective conferences, New England took its chances early as the Revolution carried the tempo in the first half.
In the 12th minute, Rowe blocked a shot at the top of the Timber box as Portland looked to clear the ball.
Fellow midfielder Teal Bunbury gained possession of the loose ball and charged toward the near post, but Ricketts got a piece of the shot and deflected it out of bounds for a New England corner.
New England’s pressure paid off in the 27th minute as Davies continued his scoring prowess.
After he carried the ball up the left wing, midfielder Diego Fagundez feathered a ball ahead to Davies as he raced behind the Portland defense.
While the Timbers defense raised their collective arms in anticipation of an offsides call, Davies walked in and tucked a shot past an outstretched Ricketts and inside the far post.
“I think Charlie has done an excellent job,” Heaps said. “I thought tonight again he was spritely, he was moving well off the ball, holding it up and scored a great goal.”
Portland had several solid chances to gain the equalizer before halftime, including a free kick in the 31st minute that found Timbers defenseman Noberto Paparatto in space at the left post.
Paparatto put the cross on net with a header, but Shuttleworth gathered the point-blank shot.
Moments later, the Revolution allowed an uncontested breakaway by Portland’s Diego Valeri, who entered the contest with goals in four straight and five of Portland’s last six.
With Valeri streaking in on goal, Shuttleworth broke from the net to challenge the midfielder.
Valeri chipped a shot over the keeper, but the bid bounced wide of the far post as New England carried its one-goal lead into halftime.