New England Soccer Today

Problems Wide Ranging for Struggling Revs

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Over the course of the last three league games, the New England Revolution have surrendered 11 goals. And for head coach Jay Heaps, the reasons are wide ranging.

Just days after advancing to the US Open Cup Final with a convincing win over Chicago, the Revolution suffered its worst home loss of Heaps’ tenure in the form of a 4-0 thrashing from the Philadelphia Union.

The visitors scored in a variety of ways on Saturday night, just like Toronto and Orlando had in the previous weeks.

“A little bit of everything when you look across the line,” Heaps said when asked what the problem is. “You can’t point a finger at one thing. Services have cost us, and again tonight. You don’t get pressure to the ball…I thought Sapong did a nice job but we could break down every goal and there’s something at fault in each of them. Sometimes it’s positionally, which we try to work on. Sometimes it’s the overall commitment to make the defensive play. Sometimes it’s a team breaking you down. You can live with the breaking down, you can live with a team making a play on you.

“But I feel that most of the goals we have given up have been things that we could have avoided. I don’t know what the number is exactly but it’s a fault of ours this year, our Achilles’ heel. We have to find a way to get out of it or it’s going to keep happening.”

It took Philadelphia just 78 seconds to poke a hole in the Revolution’s leaky defense, which has now allowed a MLS worst 44 goals against. The Union used what so many others have this year against the Revs, serving a cross in for a one time finish.

Fabinho slipped down the left touch line, avoiding a slide tackle from Andrew Farrell and sprinting past Teal Bunbury, who stopped and looked for an out of bounds call from the refs. His left footed cross was met by a near post from CJ Sapong and his one timer rolled perfectly to the far post and put the Union up 1-0.

The Revolution looked better for the majority of the first half, the only other serious chance for Philly came when Alejandro Bedoya – in his MLS debut – was left open for a shot just inside the area but it skied over the bar.

The second half started similar to the first though and it took just over five minutes for Philly to double the lead. This time, it was another familiar situation for New England – a failure to clear the ball.

After a darting run from rookie Fabian Hebers, Revs left back Chris Tierney attempted to clear the ball but it blocked by Union captain Tranquillo Barnetta and feel to the feet of Ilsinho. Ilsinho quickly cut the ball back to his left foot, avoiding a sliding Tierney. However, Jose Goncalves and Scott Caldwell were positioned in front of him. Ilsinho was able to elude Goncalves step and muscled past Caldwell, laying off a pass to Chris Pontius. With the Revs defensive line – including Farrell and Je-Vaughan Watson – sucked in and a step back due to Ilsinho, Pontius was left open and calmly placed his left footed shot into the far corner to make it 2-0.

“To be honest, I don’t think [the first goal] that really [hurt us], it was coming back out of halftime and them getting another goal, that one was maddening so to speak,” Heaps said. “Because I thought we were better to the end of the first half. But there’s no excuses. We were second best tonight and credit Philly, they were better than us tonight for sure.”

Two minutes later, Barnetta nearly beat New England with a free kick from distance but Shuttleworth was able to back track and push the ball over the net. Philly found another way to score, capitalizing on the ensuing corner. Barnetta whipped it in, Pontius rose to meet it at the center of the top of the six yard box and Richie Marquez got to the ball first, heading it in at the near post for his second career goal.

“I think it’s everywhere,” Shuttleworth said of where the mistakes are coming from. “There are a lot of things, as a group, that we’re just collectively not doing consistently enough. I think we’re doing it in spurts in certain games and then it goes away. Obviously we’re going to get punished during those times that we don’t do those things correctly.”

Roland Alberg made it four late into extra time as the Union held possession in the offensive end. Alberg took a feed from Keegan Rosenberry and was able to spin and turn as Goncalves missed the interception. Alberg played a perfect one-two off the turn with Charlie Davies and rifled one into the back of the net from 18 yards out to make it 4-0.

While the Revs continue to allow goals in a variety of manners, the team continues to look for a solution in how to stop that from happening. Both Heaps and Shuttleworth exuded confidence in the players on the roster but there is a variety of issues they need to address.

“If you look at our roster, I think we have one of the most talented rosters in the league,” Shuttleworth said. “I think it’s just, it’s not one thing, it’s not one player, it’s collectively, as a unit, every single player, and it’s not good enough and consistent enough. It’s in spurts, we’ll play really well but we’ll shut off for a couple of minutes and we’ll get punished. Teams are doing a really good job of punishing us when we stop doing the things we do well consistently.

“Every single player needs to look at themselves, myself especially, and think ‘What can we do better? How can I help the team perform better?’ We’ve got to look at the video and have to come ready to train and put the work in. Every single player needs to work hard this week and prepare and be ready to play Columbus.”

Heaps added, “It’s not one thing that you can say but there are no excuses. It’s on us as a staff, it’s on the players. We really have to face this one because this was not good on any level.”

New England will look to solve the defensive issues when they welcome the Columbus Crew SC, a squad coming off a three goal performance against first place New York City FC.


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