FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Firm foundations provide New England with the latitude to push forward in possession. Recent structural cracks – manifested in the form of seven goals conceded in the past two games – leave the Revolution in search of answers ahead of Saturday's visit by D.C. United (7:30 pm ET; MLS Live).
Revolution coach Jay Heaps noted the adverse circumstances his side faced in the 4-2 defeat to Montréal, but he said the Revs must improve across the board to return to their miserly ways (25 goals allowed in the previous 26 games).
“I think we're disappointed in that,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com. “Seven goals over two games isn't good enough. Whether we have 10 men or not [as the Revs did against Montréal], it's not good enough. We want to be tighter defensively. We want to be smarter defensively. And a little bit more proactive defensively, not so much reactive.”
Broad strokes, however, won't take care of the granular problems. Revolution defender José Gonçalves cited the need to improve concentration and set piece defending (Alex scored the winner at Toyota Park from the remnants of a corner kick) before the visit from United.
“We are trying to fix the small things,” Gonçalves said. “After that, I think we have to continue to play our game, move the ball fast because we have a great offense. It's something where everyone has to work together. That is the only solution to do better.”
Heaps will ponder whether alterations to the starting XI could bolster those collective efforts. The depth within the ranks provides Heaps with options if he wants to alter the calculus in central defense (Stephen McCarthy and A.J. Soares have split duties alongside Gonçalves over the past eight games), in goal (Matt Reis returns from a one-match ban) or elsewhere.
“For me, a lot of it is tactical and matchups, but also chemistry,” Heaps said. “We're starting to get to the point now where we need to find that chemistry again. I think that's what we were doing so well.”
Those decisions – plus the amount of time afforded to Juan Agudelo as he recovers from a right hamstring strain – loom large as the Revs attempt to restore the necessary solidity and secure the desired victory against United.