New England coach Steve Nicol lamented his side's inability to hold a proper defensive line in the early stages of Sunday's 3-2 defeat at Chicago.
The speedy contingent of Chicago forwards darted through the Revs' line to set up a spot kick and score two subsequent goals in the opening half-hour as the Fire compiled a comfortable three-goal lead heading into halftime.
Nicol said his side did not follow its established procedures at the back as the likes of Patrick Nyarko and Dominic Oduro used their pace to expose the space in behind the Revs' defense time and again on the afternoon.
“The rules are that if there's no pressure on the ball, you have to drop,” Nicol told CSNNE.com's Revs Wrap after the match. “It's page one, rule one. That's what you do. You don't hold the line when you're playing against a guy (Oduro) who does 100 meters in ten seconds. It's suicide.”
While Nyarko and Oduro continued to create problems for the Revs' defense after the early barrage, the visitors – robbed of Rajko Lekic, A.J. Soares and Monsef Zerka through injury – attempted to recover from their early deficit by sticking to their desire to send numbers forward in search of goals.
“We gave up three goals, but we came back,” Nicol said. “I say we came back, but we were always getting free kicks, getting crosses in the box, getting corners. Twenty-three shots away from home is frightening.”
Ryan Guy eventually secured a pair of consolation goals in the late stages to ensure that pressure yielded some results, but those strikes did not blunt the ultimate impact of those early missteps at the back.
In the wake of a ninth defeat in 10 visits to Chicago (0-9-1), Nicol said he planned to hand his players a refresher course on acceptable defensive practices this week in training ahead of Saturday's visit by Seattle.
“People just need to take responsibility and mind the rules,” Nicol said. “It's really straightforward.”