New England Soccer Today

Heaps: ‘I Liked Our Performance’ at Chicago

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

During their last two road outings, the Revolution were essentially pulverized by a pair of enterprising sides that outscored the locals by a combined score of 7-1. Needless to say, the Revolution had to do better on Saturday at Chicago.

In the hopes of putting their recent poor performances at Dallas and New York out to pasture, the Revolution came out firing on all cylinders offensively and were rewarded for their efforts in Saturday’s 2-2 draw against the Fire.

“I liked our performance,” Heaps told the media after the match. “Obviously, there were areas where we made a couple of mistakes and they cost us, but overall, we felt like we were really pushing the game because we wanted to get the three points.”

The Revolution wasted no time pushing the game, either. Early route one action gave way to shorter passes, which the locals used to start poking holes in the Fire backline.

One of those holes was exploited to maximum effect in the 28th minute. Chris Tierney pushed the ball ahead to Scott Caldwell, who crossed it into the area, where Teal Bunbury dummied it to let it ride to the back post. A split second later, Lee Nguyen arrived to put it through to give the Revolution the early lead.

“When we’re playing well, we’re stringing those passes together, and we have the fluid interchange, and the ball movement is there,” Heaps said. “But that comes from being sound, defensively, and being in a good shape to be able to pressure.”

Defensively, the Revolution rode strong performances from a pair of reserves for the second straight week. Reserve fullback Jeremy Hall and backup keeper Brad Knighton both delivered on Saturday to prevent the speedy Fire attack from making it a track meet.

Knighton made a bold save on a Shaun Maloney corner kick in the 43rd minute, moments before the Fire were awarded a penalty on a 50/50 challenge inside the box between Jose Goncalves and David Accam that referee Ricardo Salazer deemed to be a foul on the part of the Revolution center back.

“I thought Brad had another good performance,” Heaps said. “I thought he commanded the box well, and he read the game well, and he did well with his feet. That’s what we assess on. You can’t just (judge by) goals against. To me, goals against is a tough stat for the goalkeeper.”

Hall completed 83.3 percent of his passes, and kept designated player Kenny Igboananike from becoming a serious threat to the Revolution cause.

As sound as the Revolution were defensively, they were caught in a tough position when a bouncing ball inside the box that Joevin Jones headed forward to Matt Watson near the post. The Fire midfielder immediately tested Knighton, to pushed away the shot before the rebound fell to Razvan Kocis, who buried it from point blank in the 75th minute.

But the Revolution regrouped and put the match back on level terms only moments later when Tierney snuck a ball through a flat-footed Fire defense for Kelyn Rowe, who easily tapped it through in the 77th minute.

Despite the two moments of defensive misfortune, Heaps was pleased with his team’s performance, especially in comparison to the disappointing showings seen at Dallas and New York earlier this month.

“In the end, it’s another good shape performance from us, meaning that we were in the right spots and we gave up two goals from set pieces,” Heaps said. “But other than that, I don’t think we were totally exposed, and that’s much better from a defensive team performance.”

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