New England Soccer Today

Heaps Explains Watson Start

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

It was another week, another different face for the Revolution at left back on Saturday at Chicago. But coach Jay Heaps didn’t make any apologies, even after the shorthanded 3-0 defeat to the Fire.

After tabbing longtime starter Chris Tierney two weeks ago, then giving the nod to midfielder-turned-defender Kelyn Rowe vs. Houston, Heaps went with versatile veteran Je-Vaughn Watson at Chicago.

“We wanted to strengthen our midfield,” Heaps told the media after the match. “We wanted to win balls in the midfield, which I thought we were doing. I thought the game plan was actually going well.”

It went well for the Revolution early, to be sure. With Rowe back in the midfield, the attack looked sharp and the guests hardly looked like a team that was in the midst of suffering their worst defeat of the early season.

But the decision to start Watson, who was making his 2017 debut, came back to haunt Heaps and his team in a big way.

Six minutes after Watson earned his first caution of the game, the Jamaican international proceeded to pick up another for sending Luis Solignac to the ground on a hard tackle in the 27th minute.

“We have to be more disciplined,” Heaps said. “Knowing that it’s a road game, you can’t be too reckless and put ourselves in a tough spot.”

Watson’s dismissal Saturday was the second time he was sent off before halftime as a member of the Revolution. He was ejected in the 36th minute of last year’s 3-0 loss at Philadelphia.

As much as Watson’s red card hurt the Revolution’s chances at obtaining a result, Heaps didn’t single it out as the only reason for the comprehensive defeat.

In fact, the Revolution coach pointed to the goals conceded right before the half, then right out of the chute in the second half as co-conspirators behind Saturday’s dreadful performance.

“That’s not football, that’s mentality,” Heaps said. “The red card, and the two goals right before and after the half really frustrate all of us.”


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