The New England Revolution were one of the best defensive units in MLS in 2013, anchored by reigning Defender of the Year Jose Goncalves.
But it took just one minute for Goncalves and the Revs to concede in Saturday night's season opener in Houston and, less than 30 minutes later, they found themselves down 3-0.
“We certainly got our nose rubbed in it, and it didn’t smell very good,” Revs head coach Jay Heaps told media after his team dropped their season opener, 4-0. “It’s a poor start. It’s just not good enough on all fronts.”
Poor defensive play was the common thread on all three first-half goals. First, Goncalves misplayed a cross to Will Bruin at the top of the 18-yard box just 63 seconds into the game. Then a poor giveaway combined with shoddy marking at the back post led to Houston’s second. The back line collapsed once again on the third, allowing Bruin to slide the ball to a streaking Boniek Garcia 24 minutes into the game.
So, what happened to the Revolution? What were they missing on the night?
“Fight, second balls, all the little things,” Heaps said in response to the question.
But the nightmarish loss can’t be pinned solely on the defense. Forward Teal Bunbury struggled to make an impression and Diego Fagundez created chances, but didn’t pull the trigger in time on two other occasions.
Four quality stops by goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, including two 1-v-1 situations, saved the club from more blushes.
“They punished us,” Revs defender A.J. Soares said. “It was just not good enough.
“We know who we are as a team. It’s not like we need to make any big overhauls,” he said. “It’s just, get back to the way we play and commit to the game. If we do that, we’ll be fine.”