New England Soccer Today

Revs Find Balance After Break

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Make no mistake, Revolution coach Jay Heaps liked what he saw from his offense in Saturday’s 4-0 drubbing of Real Salt Lake. But he may have been more impressed by what occurred after the early flurry of goals.

After the Revolution went into the break with four goals already in their back pocket, Heaps was concerned about Salt Lake’s ability to breach the defense, despite failing to score. So he addressed the situation during the break, and saw his words put into action during the final 45.

“That was the most important concern,” Heaps said. “First half, they did some good things. They had some new players in there. We corrected that in the second half and I thought we were able to stop them from doing what they were doing so well in the first half.”

Indeed, Salt Lake hardly looked like a team that was about to lay down, even after the Revolution’s early goals. Joao Plata and Jose Hernandez both slipped through the Revolution defense, which was bailed out by some emergency defending by Benjamin Angoua and a quick save from Cody Cropper.

Had it not been for those last-gasp interventions, well, the Revolution were well aware of how quickly a so-called comfortable lead can disappear.

“We always talk about an open game and we are good in an open game,” Heaps said. “Just like a heavyweight fight. You can see. We can go 3-3 with the Seattle [Sounders]. The problem is, we’re putting a lot of stress on the back line when we do that, so the key is making sure that when we play our diamond.”

To avoid another epic collapse, Heaps asked Scott Caldwell and Diego Fagundez to plug the gaps between Xavier Kouassi and the fullbacks.

“Obviously, the key to a diamond is for them to overload the middle and then get it wide,” Heaps said. “In the second half, they tightened up and sat next to Kouassi a little bit more. That’s what shuts it down. Now, you’re layering your lines. You’re not just having five guys attack and five guys defend. You’re having good layers and that’s when we’re at our best.”

The move paid dividends. While Salt Lake found more shots in the second half, they weren’t nearly as threatening as the ones seen before the break. More importantly, the locals prevented Saturday from turning into another two-sided shootout.

Yes, the first half may have looked far superior than the sequel, but Heaps was impressed nevertheless by what his team was able to accomplish in order to keep Salt Lake from creeping back in the match.

“They were just able to find the ball,” Heaps said. “We corrected that in the second half and I thought we were able to stop them from doing what they were doing so well in the first half.”

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