Monday, July 16, 2012
Revs' struggles a bit unsettling
By Brian O'Connell
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- It’s no secret that set pieces have not been a Revolution specialty this season. And it became all the more obvious in Saturday’s 1-0 loss to Toronto.
Of the 28 total opportunities (13 corner kicks and 15 free kicks) afforded to them via the set piece, the Revolution couldn’t convert a single one into a goal. Not one.
Needless to say, Revolution coach Jay Heaps wasn’t exactly thrilled to watch so many opportunities fall by the wayside.
“The set pieces were not good enough all the way around,” Heaps said after Saturday’s game. “It was very disappointing. Corner kicks I thought were OK, but when we’re talking about free kicks, the chances we had were short (and) over.”
The Revolution's set-piece struggles have been an on-going theme all season, especially in recent weeks while in attack mode.
Whether it’s Chris Tierney or Benny Feilhaber standing behind the ball, the fact is that it’s a rare sight to see one of their efforts redirected into the net. And the stats don’t lie. With only one goal from an attacking set piece this season, the Revolution are one of the worst teams in the league in that department.
It would be easy to lay the blame squarely on Tierney or Feilhaber for the team’s ineptitude on dead ball situations. But the inescapable fact is that it takes more than a singular effort to convert free kick opportunities, which Tierney was quick to point out after Saturday’s loss.
“There (are) two aspects,” Tierney said. “The service has to be good and we have to attack the ball and we didn’t do any of those.”
Although Tierney accepted his share of the blame for the team’s lack of set-piece success, Heaps pointed out another reason why the Revolution fell flat on corner kicks in particular.
Given a season-high 13 corners to work with, the Revolution found plenty of chances to equalize. But as the game approached full time, their form on both free kicks and corners became all too predictable.
“We have four or five plays that we run on corner kicks -- different movements -- and after 11 of them, you pretty much exhaust them,” Heaps said. “So we tried to change it up. (But) we just didn’t do enough. We ran out of ideas and they defended well.”
So what’s the solution? According to Tierney, it all boils down to a simple concept that many flawed teams struggle with.
“It’s just a matter of executing during the game,” Tierney said. “We had a few that got cut out and weren’t great, so it’s disappointing, but that’s a small part of the game.”
A small part of the game that ultimately played a huge role on Saturday -- much to the chagrin of the Revolution.