Saturday, March 30, 2013
Revs struggle as drought continues
By Brian O'Connell
New England nearly came away with a scoreless draw, but conceded the winner in the 87th minute.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Jay Heaps has a running list of items that need to get better following Saturday's 1-0 loss to FC Dallas.
From the coaching to the playing to the set pieces (both defensive and offensive) to moving the ball to just about every aspect of the game, it all needed improvement in Heaps' eyes.
"In the first half, there wasn't enough movement," Heaps said. "There wasn't enough playing the ball quickly and a lot of what we work on all week just seemed to go away."
During a listless first 45 minutes, the Revolution attack looked as inept as it did in last week's windswept, scoreless draw with Sporting Kansas City. While the passing accuracy was improved (72.8 percent), the Revolution couldn't hold the ball, and saw their first half possession percentage drop to an abysmal 37.6 percent.
The only chance they could muster came in the 34th minute when Jerry Bengtson grabbed a pass from Ryan Guy and went forward before he found Diego Fagundez on the left. Fagundez took a few touches into the box and fired a shot that Raul Fernandez smothered.
"As soon as I got that chance, I was like 'OK, this might be the only chance I get to score,'" Fagundez said. "I couldn't hit the ball as well as I should've. It was just a bad hit."
While Heaps had to be pleased with the effort on the defensive end, where the Revolution kept a lid on Dallas' high-powered attack, the form in the middle and final thirds was cause for concern.
"The first half was really just not good enough, quite frankly," Heaps said. "I think it exerted a lot of energy for us even just to stay in the game for the first half."
Not surprisingly, Heaps implored his team to improve for the second half. He wanted to see the Revolution go forward and get into space in the final third. He wanted to see the attack force the issue and put one past Fernandez.
They nearly did just that in the 58th minute, following a Juan Toja free kick that the Dallas wall initially stonewalled. But the ball fell back to Toja, who then went into the area and found Bengtson on the edge of the six before Fernandez tipped Bengtson's header over the bar.
Nevertheless, the team continued to press. The passing became smoother. So did the runs. And as the Revolution began to tip the possession scale in their favor, it appeared that their lengthy goalless streak was on the verge of being snapped.
Well, at least it looked that way until the 87th minute. Just inside his own end, FC Dallas' Blas Perez, who came on for Kenny Cooper in the 64th minute, pushed the ball forward, found David Ferreira wide, and made a run toward the 18. Moments later, Ferreira sent it ahead to Perez, whose header beat an outstretched Bobby Shuttleworth at the left post to seal the game winner.
"He adds something a little bit different [than Cooper]," Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman said. "I thought we found him a couple times and he could have had another chance and scored."
The win gave Dallas its first win in Foxboro since 2003, and in the process, kept the Revolution winless in their first two home games. Making matters worse for New England, it also marked their third straight game without scoring a goal.
"Right now, our play is a little bit out of sync with what our runs are," Heaps said. "And I think that's just where we have to continue to get better every week."
The Revolution will be afforded a bye week next weekend, giving Heaps plenty of time to work with the offense before a trip to Seattle on Apr. 14.
"I thought tonight we had chances to score and we didn't," Heaps said. "So we go back and work harder as a staff [and] as a team to take care of those chances when we get them."