New England Soccer Today

The Big City Awaits

Photo credit: Brandon Bleek/Prost Amerika

Photo credit: Brandon Bleek/Prost Amerika

FOXBOROUGH, MASS. – Improvement across the pitch will be what Revolution coach Jay Heaps will be looking for during Sunday’s first encounter with expansion side New York City FC at Yankee Stadium. And with good reason.

The Revolution are coming off a humbling 3-0 defeat to the Seattle Sounders, a game in which the offense found itself stuck in a rut, and the defense didn’t exactly enjoy its best day after Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins terrorized the backline.

“We have to be better in terms of all facets of the game,” Heaps said. “I thought we started the game well. I thought we did a good job at components of the game, but I don’t think we were dangerous enough.”

It’s not hard to find the root of New England’s attacking woes during Sunday’s match. While they were able to put together more passes in the attacking half (312) than Seattle (226), the Revolution only registered a single shot on frame through 90 minutes.

“I think we got caught up in playing these long balls to Juan (Agudelo), and he had Chad Marshall there to really win every single ball in the air,” Revolution striker Charlie Davies said. “We didn’t play the smartest like we have in the past, we got away from playing and keeping possession in their half, and I don’t think we found the flanks enough.”

Preventing the offense from going stale will certainly have to change in order to get something out of the Sunday’s contest. But that won’t be easy.

With Jermaine Jones still recovering from sports hernia surgery, and Teal Bunbury unlikely to travel due to the right shoulder injury he suffered in Seattle, getting the offense in gear may prove problematic.

But there is hope that the Revolution’s fortunes will improve on Sunday. Lee Nguyen trained with the Revolution this week, and he could make his first appearance of the regular season. Kelyn Rowe showed flashes in Seattle, and if he can get on the same page with Agudelo, the locals could find the success that eluded them last weekend.

Meanwhile, the Revolution know that the defensive effort must be better, as well. Although New York City doesn’t boast the same two-headed beast that Seattle used to terrorize the Revolution defense, they do have Spanish goal artist David Villa and U.S. International Mix Diskerud.

“We probably gambled a little too much to start the game (in Seattle),” Revolution left back Chris Tierney said. “We’ll just look to tighten things up and play a little bit more of a safer game.”

Tierney said that keeping the New York City in check early will allow the offense more time to plot against Jason Hernandez and Chris Wingert, both of whom struggled to keep pace with Orlando City’s Kevin Molino and Kaka during last week’s 1-1 draw.

To the players and coaches, last week’s defeat is nothing more than a dot in the rear view. But rest assured that plenty of lessons were learned from it as they approach Sunday’s clash in the Bronx.

“We’ll just get back to it in training, and try to improve on the things we didn’t do too well,” Tierney said. “We have another big opportunity on the road this week, and we’ll look to bounce back.”

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