New England Soccer Today

Five Things We Learned: #NYvNE

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/

Just when you thought the Revolution couldn’t get any worse after their dismal performance against FC Dallas, they go out to Red Bull Arena and do something like this:

-Concede a goal inside the opening 10 minutes for the third time in four games.

-Concede three goals inside of 12 minutes.

-Rely on a player who hasn’t scored an MLS regular season goal in eight years to respond.

-Watch their captain concede a penalty.

-Watch their captain get sent off.

-Lose by three goals for the second straight week.

Conclusion: there was a whole lot of bad going on for the Revolution at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.

Since there’s nothing to be gained in belaboring that point, let’s quickly turn our attention to latest things we learned from the Revolution’s performance (or lack thereof) against the Red Bulls.

1. The defense isn’t very good. That was readily apparent even before the traveling support started warming up their voices. When Jose Goncalves wasn’t getting owned by Lloyd Sam, it was Andrew Farrell getting beaten by Bradley Wright-Phillips, and when it wasn’t that, it was Scott Caldwell getting dusted by Sam. Clearly, there was a heck of a lot going on inside of those opening minutes, and very little of it had to do with defending. The irony, of course, is that it was the Red Bulls who were supposed to have defensive concerns with three of their veteran defenders absent due to Gold Cup duty. The fact that a first-choice Revolution back four wilted is cause for concern, especially now that the club has conceded a league-worst 33 goals.

2. The offense isn’t much better. While it’s easy to pin Saturday’s loss on the defense, the offense shouldn’t get a pass for their part. After the Red Bulls’ three-goal outburst, they essentially dropped back and gave the Revolution plenty of room to roam. While Lee Nguyen gave it a few goes, Charlie Davies and Juan Agudelo were rarely seen. Ditto for Teal Bunbury. Remember the days when the front three of Bunbury-Davies-Agudelo were supposed to be the envy of the Eastern Conference? That Diego Fagundez was going to play like a man on fire after he was left off Uruguay’s roster for the U-20 World Cup? Well, all you need to know about the state of the attack is that it took a goal from Andy Dorman – a player who hadn’t scored in an MLS regular season game since 2007 – to show that that the offense wasn’t completely dead.

3. The players betrayed the strong pack of traveling support After the match, Jay Heaps took the heat for the loss, saying that he and the coaching staff didn’t do enough to prepare his team. While it was a commendable thing to say, that reason only flies in the wake of the first goal. The next three? Those are on the players. Typically, a team with talent is awakened a team when they concede early, and does well to respond, or at least make the necessary fortifications. The Revolution? They remained asleep at the wheel after Wright-Phillips’ first goal while the Red Bulls continued to assert themselves. The blame for conceding inside of three minutes may fall the shoulders of Heaps for not getting his squad fired up for the match. But after that, it is up to the players to respond, and when they didn’t, they essentially betrayed the 700 or so supporters who traveled to Red Bull Arena to watch their team get embarrassed by a longtime rival.

4. The Revolution’s Achilles’ heel continues to be pace. For the second straight week, speed left the Revolution for dead on the side of the road. Last week at Toyota Park, it was Fabian Castillo and his dangerous forays into the final third that helped pull apart the backline and created room for Mauro Diaz to operate. This week, it was the aforementioned Sam, a longtime nemesis who actually told the media after the match that he was “surprised” by the amount of space he was given during Saturday’s affair. While Sam certainly sticks out the Red Bulls’ primary speed merchant, Wright-Phillips is no slouch when it comes to pace, either, and he used it to great effect to hand the Revolution another devastating loss.

5. Changes are overdue. By now, it’s become abundantly clear: the status quo is no longer acceptable. The Revolution have gotten progressively worse over the course of the last three weeks, and it doesn’t look like things will improve unless changes are made. Obviously, flipping the entire XI isn’t reasonable, nor is it warranted. But there are some areas in which the Revolution could make changes. Aside from straight up player acquisitions (something the Revolution haven’t exactly been phenomenal at as of late), a couple of suggestions include reintroducing Kelyn Rowe to the XI, while having Caldwell take a more defensive role to allow Daigo Kobayashi to wear the 8 shirt. Heaps may very well have more ideas in mind, but these two changes could be a good starting point for the Revolution to snap out of their prolonged funk.


Leave a Reply