It was, by any measure, a classic stinker of a performance for the New England Revolution in Saturday’s season opener against the Houston Dynamo.
Less than two minutes into the regular season for both sides, Will Bruin scored the first two of four Dynamo goals en route to a 4-0 thrashing of the Revolution at BBVA Compass Stadium.
“Some days you get your nose rubbed in it,” Heaps told the media after the match, “and we certainly got our nose rubbed in it today and it didn’t smell too good.”
The sour stench was evident from the get-go. In the second minute, Jose Goncalves flailed in vain at a Kofi Sarkodie pass that Bruin corralled before uncorking a shot that beat Bobby Shuttleworth for the opening goal.
But the defensive lapses didn’t end there. In the 13th minute, Bruin struck again after Chris Tierney ignored him at the far post, where the Dynamo striker tapped through a Corey Ashe cross to widen the gap.
More hijinx in the Revolution half ensued in the 23rd minute when Bruin decided to cast himself as the creator when the held off Scott Caldwell and played a pass inside the area as Goncalves curiously watched on. Boniek Garcia picked up Bruin’s pass, escaped Tierney and slid it through to shove the guests into a three-goal deficit only midway through the first half.
“They punished us and we couldn’t recover from there,” Revolution center back A.J. Soares told the media after the match. “They controlled the game the whole night. We weren’t on the same page and it’s something we can look on the film and improve, so that’s the positive we take from it.”
Despite the humbling start, the Revolution were able to rise from their slumber in the moments leading up to halftime. Tierney sent a corner kick into the scrum that Soares nearly nodded before it slammed off the post in the 40th minute. Close, but no cigar.
Teal Bunbury uncovered a chance of his own two minutes later when he grabbed a heavy touch off the foot of Kofi Sarkodie and punched it toward the far post. But Tally Hall got a hand on it before David Horst emerged to clear it out of danger.
“There’s going to be moments when we have to respond and be ready,” Heaps said. “Tonight, we were ready to go, had a great gameplan and were well-prepared but the start was just flat.”
Whether or not that flat start affected their mindset on the occasions they threatened is unclear, but what is known is that more chances fell by the wayside in the second half.
In the 68th minute, Diego Fagundez nodded a pass ahead for Jerry Bengtson, who skied his shot into the soggy Houston night. Fagundez found a chance of his own in the 82nd minute, but it was thwarted by the bar.
Before it was all said and done, the Dynamo seized upon one final opportunity when Omar Cummings ushered a wayward Ricardo Clark shot into the net in stoppage time.
While it wasn’t the scoreline wasn’t what the Revolution had in mind when they touched down in Houston on Thursday, Soares noted that there’s no reason to panic.
“It’s the beginning of the season,” Soares said. “You want to start with three points but like I said, the positive is we got our butts kicked and that means we’ve got to improve.”