New England Soccer Today

Five Things We Learned: #MTLvNE

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Too bad Toto couldn’t bless the rains up in Canada.

Seeking to extend their unbeaten run to nine – and win what would’ve been a franchise-best seven in a row – the Revolution fell flat at a soggy Stade Saputo, where they suffered a 3-0 thumping to an inspired (and somewhat lucky) Impact side.

So what did we learn from Saturday’s rain-soaked showdown?

1. For the first time in a long time, the breaks finally went against the Revolution. As good as the Revolution looked during the streak, let’s face it: they were also aided by some lucky breaks along the way. Exhibit A: In three of their six wins, they finished the match with a man-advantage. Exhibit B: they only played three times during the dog days of August. Exhibit C: Oh yeah, that early Damien Perquis own goal was just the gaffe the guests needed in Toronto to help get them started on the right foot. That’s not to take anything away from what they accomplished, mind you. They played some very good soccer during that stretch. But at some point, the breaks just don’t fall your way, as we saw on Johan Venegas’ opener and Didier Drogba’s free kick effort.

2. The offense sorely missed the creativity of Diego Fagundez. After essentially running two half-marathons in four days, Fagundez was given a much-needed rest on Saturday. But who could’ve figured a Fagundez-less attack would struggle so much? Even though the Revolution had two of their top scorers in the XI, the attack missed their blonde-streaked winger hard. With Fagundez on the bench for the bulk of the match, the attack became predictable in the final third, much to the delight of Montreal’s backline. Granted, there wasn’t much Heaps could do about all the mileage his playmaker logged earlier in the week. But if there was any question about Fagundez’s importance to the attack, it was washed away amid the heavy rains in Montreal.

3. The rain didn’t aid the Revolution’s cause. Speaking of the wet stuff, a slick pitch should’ve aided the Revolution and their quick-break style of play. Instead, the fast surface at Stade Saputo only served to tire them out further. And it’s easy to see why. On a night in which Lee Nguyen was playing his third game in seven days, while Teal Bunbury and Kelyn Rowe were both running on fumes, the Revolution probably would’ve preferred to play on a slower (re: bone dry) pitch. We’ll never know if the locals would’ve clawed back under clear skies, but one thing’s for sure: the rain clearly benefited one team, and it wasn’t the team that was wearing red.

4. Saturday was a baaaad time for the Revolution defense to face Didier Drogba. Similar to the sentiment above, heavy legs didn’t just affect the offense on Saturday. Consider that Revolution center backs Andrew Farrell and Jose Goncalves were both playing their third set of 90 minutes since Sunday, a big ask for any defender. But it wasn’t nearly as big a demand as pitting them against a world-class talent like Drogba, who wasted no time putting them to defense to the test. On a night in which the Impact were lively in the final third, and Drogba wreaked havoc against the guests’ back line, it was a nightmare matchup that could’ve been even worse had Ignacio Piatti not obliterated his chances.

5. The inclusion of Steve Neumann was one of the more curious lineup changes we’ve seen all year. Three days after a lineup that featured a second-choice fullback tandem and a part-time striker helped the Revolution stake a 2-1 win over the potent Red Bulls, there was plenty of positive buzz about the squad’s depth. But Saturday was a different story entirely, with much of the focus centered on Neumann’s assignment as a holding midfielder. Yes, Scott Caldwell was due for a rest, but to slot in an attack-minded player who hadn’t started all season over a savvy veteran (Andy Dorman) was, um, an interesting move. While Neumann more than held his own by completing 95.8 percent of his passes, it appeared that his central partner, Jermaine Jones, seemed hesitant to push too far into the attack, possibly because he wasn’t entirely sure of what kind of cover the first-rounder could provide.

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