New England Soccer Today

Heaps Critical of Foul Leading to Adi’s Winner

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

After weathering a second half storm in which the Timbers threatened time and time again, it appeared that the Revolution were going to somehow find a way to escape with a point from Saturday’s contest with full time looming. But that vision never came to pass.

In the 86th minute, Lee Nguyen fouled Darlington Nagbe to set up a dangerous Jorge Villafana free kick inside the final third. The Portland midfielder hit it true to find an unmarked Fanendo Adi, who slammed the door shut on any hopes of a road result for the Revolution.

Although he claimed he didn’t see how Adi was able to elude his mark, coach Jay Heaps was more concerned with how the Timbers were able to orchestrate the game-winner.

“I didn’t like the foul to give it,” Heaps told the media after the match. “I think it was unnecessary, so we have to be a little bit sharper, and smarter, in those areas.”

It’s easy to see why Heaps wasn’t terribly happy about it. Right before Nguyen had fouled the speedy Nagbe, the Revolution had dropped numbers in the box. If Nguyen hadn’t cut down Nagbe, the likelihood of the winger breaking through or finding a teammate wasn’t especially high.

Nguyen was issued a caution for the transgression, but that paled in comparison to what it allowed the Timbers to do: seize the strike that proved to be tough to secure after outshooting the Revolution 15-4 during the first 85 minutes.

While Heaps admitted that he’ll have to look at the game film to see how Adi was able to get open on his game-winner, he admitted that it was the proverbial punch to the gut.

“Credit that free kick goal,” Heaps said. “That one really was a tough one to give up.”

Of course, Adi’s strike – the first of two he scored on Saturday – wasn’t the only mistake the Revolution were guilty of in Portland. Slow reactions to the Timbers’ passes inside the final third forced Bobby Shuttleworth to make no fewer than three bold saves just to keep it from becoming a whitewash.

On the other end of the pitch, the absences of Jermaine Jones (left groin strain) and Juan Agudelo (international duty) were impossible to ignore. The Revolution mustered a mere four shots against the Timbers, and save for a promising spell of attacking soccer during the latter part of the first half, the guests were generally ineffective in the final third.

Nevertheless, Heaps said he hopes that his team comes away from Saturday’s game learning some important lessons.

“In the end, it wasn’t our best game overall,” Heaps said. “I thought our fight and commitment was really good – in the end, too many guys didn’t have their stuff tonight.”

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