FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Opposing teams have developed a successful tactic to disrupt the New England Revolution in possession this season: impose their physical presence on matches.
Sporting Kansas City joined the group of teams – perhaps for a second time in the campaign after a 3-0 victory at Livestrong Sporting Park in March – that used that type of approach to prevent the Revs from generating any semblance of rhythm on the ball in a 1-0 victory at Gillette Stadium on Saturday night.
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Revolution coach Jay Heaps (above) expressed his frustration at the referee's handling of the situation in his postgame comments and noted that his side's key players couldn't operate as they would prefer through the middle of the park.
“I felt like every time we got around the ball, there was a foul,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “It was just a disruptive game.”
Revolution defender Chris Tierney said he and his teammates must find a way to cope with the challenges presented when opposing sides are successfully disrupting their game plan.
“Their game plan, for sure, was to disrupt the play,” Tierney said. “I think you look at the fouls, there were a lot (21 for Sporting Kansas City, 12 for New England). They were clearly trying to slow our play through the midfield and break things up. And they did a good job of that. That's a road tactic and a tactic that teams have used against us all year. We have to be better about breaking pressure and playing through it.”
At this stage of the season, the Revs have yet to find a way to overcome the tactic and show the opposition that it simply won't work against them going forward. The first step toward stating that particular case starts with tidier work in possession to ensure that the opposition does not have as many opportunities to foul, according to Revolution midfielder Clyde Simms.
“I think, typically, [we need to] keep the ball on the ground and keep the ball moving,” Simms said. “No one in this league is as fast as the ball.”