Whether it was due to the fact that Andy Dorman was unavailable because of a yellow card accumulation penalty, or it was a matter of shaking up a dormant club, New England’s lineup versus Salt Lake on Friday night was certainly a new cog in the Jay Heaps machine.
Yet in the face of a 2-1 defeat, the team’s fourth straight, the changes in the group seemed the furthest thing from the Revolution coach’s mind.
“Tonight’s game was a hard fought battle,” said Heaps. “We didn’t do a good enough job in the first half, but I thought the second half we really had a good run of play.”
A.J. Soares moved up from center back to the holding mid slot vacated by Dorman, Kelyn Rowe got his fourth start of the season, moving Teal Bunbury to the bench for the first time all year, and Andrew Farrell shifted to center back from the wing, allowing Darius Barnes the start at right back.
Things seemed a bit out of synch early on, but the Revs were able to respond to a Javier Morales penalty kick goal with a Barnes goal two minutes later, leveling things heading into halftime.
A second Salt Lake penalty kick in the second half ultimately felled the New England lineup which was starting to crank things up on the attacking end.
“There were two penalty kicks called against us which I thought were unfortunate,” said Heaps. “In looking at the film, we can do better.”
Dismayed, but with plenty of time to play, New England did mount some late pressure, but opportunities flew by the wayside, including a golden chance from Rowe in the 70th minute that sailed high over the net.
“We had chances to at least tie the game,” said Heaps. “Unfortunately, it’s hard place to play.”
Lately, the Revs are finding it hard to play anywhere, regardless of the lineup.
The team returns to action on Tuesday when they head to Philadelphia for a U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal tilt against the Union, and next Saturday they return home to host the Chicago Fire in MLS action.