New England Soccer Today

Defensive Mistakes Undermine Revs

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

It was deja vu at Dallas for the Revolution on Saturday.

Similar to last year’s U.S. Open final, New England found themselves on top early at Toyota Stadium on Saturday. And just as it happened six months ago, that lead evaporated at the hands of a talented Dallas side that claimed a 2-1 comeback win.

Dallas’ two goals came in the latter stages as Maxi Urruti capitalized on a pair of critical defensive mistakes by the guests.

“I feel like we have to make those individual plays,” Revolution coach Jay Heaps told the media after the match. “I think that they come down to moments in the game and understanding what the moment calls for and (we have to ask ourselves) collectively: can we make one or two more plays to win the game?”

Urruti’s first goal came in the 71st minute on a play in which Maynor Figueroa sent a long ball ahead to Michael Barrios, who brought it down with an exceptional first touch and charged ahead. Although Cody Cropper was quick to snuff out the opportunity, the rebound fell right in Urruti’s path, and the Argentinian forward dribbled Cropper before blasting it through.

Six minutes later, Hernan Grana sent a ball down the right for Urruti before was intercepted by Benjamin Angoua. But Urruti harrassed Angoua into a giveaway and the forward picked his target and put his shot into the Revolution net.

“Those (mistakes) stand out as well,” Heaps said. “But there were others along the way that maybe lead to those moments, but it’s not one guy or another guy. If one guy make a mistake, then you need another guy to pick him up.”

The ability to bail out a teammate was something Revolution midfielder Scott Caldwell also touched upon in his assessment of how Dallas was able to take advantage of the miscues.

“It’s kind of all of us as a team where we were a half second (too) slow to everything,” Caldwell told the media after the match, “and in reacting to those moments, and not trying to block a long ball to not getting our body in front of it.”

Perhaps the most troubling aspect of Saturday’s loss was that the Revolution had actually contained Dallas fairly well during the first 70 minutes. They weathered the chances created by one of the best teams in the league even after they switched to a 3-5-2 after the interval.

But in the end, it all boils down to execution, just as it did during last year’s Open Cup final. And staying disciplined for anything less than 90 minutes against a team as strong as Dallas will rarely cut it.

“We knew they were going to have moments, we knew they were going to make subs, and that Barrios was going to come in,” Heaps said. “I thought he did a good job changing the game, but Urruti, to his credit, is the hardest working forward in the league, and he showed it tonight.”

One Comment

  1. Rick Sewall

    March 19, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    On defense, the Revs needed someone to keep up with Barrios. It certainly wasn’t Tierney, who has a big problem with any speedy wing, and many in the MLS are. Putting Farrell at left back may have given the Revs a better chance at stopping Barrios.

    On the first goal ,Tierney should have been given support, especially by the left centerback. All other Rev defenders were too far upfield to help.

    On the second goal, I was amazed to see a professional soccer player stand still with his hands behind his back while he watched an opposing player shoot.

    There are many factors and methods in scoring goals, and the Revs get very few fast break and counterattacking opportunities. You create these chances by pressuring the opposing defense in their own end. This must be done in a coordinated way by forwards and mid fielders- one or two players can’t do it effectively- and it ideally should be used as a surprise tactic. In this game the Revs rarely, if ever , pressed effectively, so no stolen balls and quick chances at goal.This lack also made it easy for Dallas to advance the ball into and past midfield.

    The Revs have to find a way to beat a defense to the endline before crossing. The only time this happened was Bunbury’s very effective cross late in the game.

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