New England Soccer Today

Heaps: We Just Stopped Playing

Photo credit: Matt Warso / Prost Amerika

How does a team blow a three-goal lead with only 15 minutes left? Well, Jay Heaps had the answer following Saturday’s wild 3-3 draw between the Revolution and the Sounders.

“It just felt like the last 20 minutes we just stopped playing and it cost us,” Heaps told the media after the match. “We just have to be better at clearing our lines, making sure we get to clearances, and not let them keep coming down.”

On a night that should have been remembered for a masterful offensive performance on the road against the defending champions, the Revolution defense stole the headlines – and for all the wrong reasons.

After a Daigo Kobayashi long-distance strike and a Juan Agudelo brace, the Revolution proceeded to concede not one, not two, but three unanswered goals. Defense? The Revolution’s all but disappeared in the waning stages.

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Saturday’s sudden turn of events is the reason given for the let down.

Conditioning has long been a point of emphasis for Heaps since he took the reins five years ago. But according to Revolution forward Juan Agudelo, the squad wasn’t at their best physically down the stretch, even though the team arrived in Seattle a day early ahead of the Week 9 matchup.

“I know towards the end of the game it was tough to keep it because a bunch of guys were a bit exhausted,” Agudelo told the media after the match. “The last 15 [minutes] weren’t good enough and they were able to get three goals on us. We’ll try to keep as positive as possible, but this one hurts.”

No doubt Saturday’s draw hurts for New England. For the third straight game, the Revolution left points on the pitch, a development that speaks to a team that may not have the fortitude to contend if current form is any indication.

Curiously, Heaps wished he could’ve halted play when the bullets were flying.

“If we could have called a 20-second timeout – I felt like we could have corrected it and made the plays,” Heaps said. “I just wish we could have been able to do it in the course of the match.”

The reality, of course, is that Heaps, who played college basketball at Duke, does not coach in sport that affords such a luxury. But even if he had been able to channel his inner Brad Stevens, there still would have been no guarantee the Revolution could’ve held on against a supremely talented offense that already beat Cody Cropper on three occasions before the comeback, only to be denied by the woodwork each time.

“It’s always a tough place to come and play,” Heaps said. “We were thrilled to get the lead…our game plan was very good and once they started putting numbers into the box, we didn’t deal with it very well.”


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