Risk Avoidance Burns Revs
- Updated: March 20, 2017
If it’s true that fortune favors the bold, then the Revolution might want to become a bit braver this season.
After getting the jump on FC Dallas on Saturday at Toyota Stadium, the locals seemed content to tap the brakes rather than staying on the gas during the second half. But that approach only set them up for failure as Dallas to pressed ahead and scored twice en route to a 2-1 victory, one that featured a 15-4 shot advantage recorded by the hosts.
“There were moments where we were on the front foot in the first half, and we could’ve gotten a second goal there,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told the media after the match. “I thought (Chris) Seitz made a big save at 1-0, and then maybe at the end there. (But) the game was going well at 1-0, and we didn’t want to risk too much.”
Perhaps the Revolution didn’t want too risk too much because Dallas, a team known for its pace and precision in the final third, was especially capable of turning the tables.
Whatever idea they may have had, it backfired right in their faces. Instead of playing the kind of game that secured them a 10th minute PK goal from Lee Nguyen, New England dropped numbers after the break, and absorbed enormous amounts of pressure. Before long Dallas had the lead, much to the chagrin of Juan Agudelo.
“We pressed a bit better (in the first half),” Agudelo told the media after the match. “I thought we let off the pedal a little bit, but we have to recover at half time, and come out in the second half and keep that going.”
In a sense, the change in mindset – from exerting pressure to absorbing it – wasn’t the worst idea on the world. But instead of staying organized and tracking threats, the Revolution essentially invited Dallas deep into their end. To forward Maxi Urruti, who scored both Dallas goals, it was all he needed to make his influence felt.
“We let up a little bit and we gave them space,” Agudelo said, “which giving space to teams like FC Dallas – they’re always going to punish you.”
That punishment wasn’t pretty, either. Urruti capitalized on not one, but two defensive gaffes despite the fact the Revolution should have been able to snuff out the opportunities with numbers in front of their own goal.
On evening, the numbers were damning for the Revolution: not only were they outshot by an 11 goal margin, they also conceded 13 corners while claiming only four of their own. Giving Dallas room out wide allowed them to whip through a whopping 34 crosses.
It’s hard to say whether the best defense against Dallas would have been a good Revolution offense, which looked sharp out of the gate. Had they stayed on the pedal, who knows whether Urruti still bags his brace.
But one thing was clear to Heaps: his team could have done more to level it in the waning moments.
“At the end of the game, yeah, we needed to be more aggressive,” Heaps said. “Once they scored the second goal from the (77th minute) on, we could’ve done a little bit more.”