New England Soccer Today

Lapses Undermine Revs in Loss

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Typically, defensive cohesiveness comes together sooner than offensive chemistry for many clubs during the preseason. But for the Revolution, the exact opposite was true on Saturday.

While New England’s attack looked like it was in midseason form, the defense appeared to be stuck in early-winter mode after conceding twice right before the break in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Rapids.

With the locals holding a narrow 1-0 lead with halftime quickly approaching, Rapids midfielder Caleb Calvert found the back of the net in the 44th minute before Dominique Badji gave his club the sudden advantage only two minutes later.

“I think we were pressing well, we were doing a good job defensively,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told the media after the match, “and then the last 10 minutes of the half – actually the last two minutes of the half – we didn’t defend well and we got punished. I think that’s one thing we’ve been doing really well, and when we turned off for just two minutes, it gave us two goals.”

If that sentiment sounds familiar, it’s because the Revolution turned off far too often at critical moments in 2016. As a result, the squad led the league in a dubious stat – goals conceded – for much of the summer.

Sensing the need to make significant changes to the rear during the offseason, the Revolution acquired Antonio Delamea and Benjamin Angoua while waving goodbye to longtime captain Jose Goncalves and defensive midfielder Gershon Koffie.

But with those changes come moments in which it’s abundantly clear that memos are being missed among the defenders and midfielders.

On Calvert’s 44th minute effort, the Rapids midfielder simply beat London Woodberry, who seemed unsure of his assignment, to Tony Cascio’s simple cross for paydirt.

Two minutes later, it was Andrew Farrell’s turn to watch his mark – Badji – get to the ball first before Brad Knighton had to pick yet another ball out of his net.

“Situationally, we found ourselves in trouble and we gave up two goals right before half,” Heaps said. “I think it’s a good learning experience, because those were bad goals to give away at the time we gave them away.”

Unfortunately for the Revolution, the Rapids still had one more goal in them. With the gusty winds and rain in their faces for the second half, a goalkick from Knighton died well before the halfway line before Colorado put together a quick set of passes to open the door for Calvert once again.

“We obviously don’t want to let up three goals like we did during that time,” Revolution midfielder Lee Nguyen told the media after the match. “Obviously, [in] that second half, the weather wasn’t ideal, but we’ve got to deal with that and at time same time, we did well to create chances.”

Heaps also lamented his club’s inability to build a bigger lead in the first half, when the conditions hadn’t yet deteriorated to extent they did after the break. That said, the Revolution boss was encouraged by the attacking chemistry and is hopeful for fewer mistakes in the rear.

“I think we’re all feeling each other out right now,” Heaps said. “I’ll focus on us, because I thought we’ve been progressing and getting better and adding Juan [Agudelo] back into the mix really adds an element of firepower for us. But getting them all on same page is key and I thought for a good 35 minutes there, we were all on the same page.”

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