New England coach Steve Nicol did not mince words after the Revolution submitted to a second consecutive thrashing at Rio Tinto Stadium.
As he processed his side's 5-0 defeat to Real Salt Lake on Friday night, Nicol chastised his players for a lack of professionalism as the Revolution fell flat after spending the week hoping to atone for last season's 6-0 drubbing at the same venue.
“The biggest thing is a lack of professionalism,” Nicol told reporters after the match. “We had a set way that we were going to do things and it worked for about 25 minutes, and then we just gave them three goals. The first goal starts it off, the second goal was terrible, third goal was terrible. When you are giving teams three goals, it is unprofessional. That’s really what it is.”
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The night, as Nicol suggested, started off well enough for the visitors as they pressed the initiative from the opening whistle. The bright start faded into irrelevancy with one diagonal long ball from Robbie Russell and one tidy trap and finish from Fabian Espindola to open the scoring after 27 minutes.
While the Revs didn't acquit themselves well defensively on the opening goal, they compounded the issues by conceding a second goal from a set piece in first-half stoppage time. Jamison Olave used Nat Borchers and Shalrie Joseph as a pick to break free from Emmanuel Osei and thumped home a header from Javier Morales' service to give RSL a two-goal cushion heading into the break.
“I think it was hard to come back in the second half already down by two goals,” Revolution midfielder Sainey Nyassi said. “If it was one (goal), it would have been different. We didn’t mark well tonight. Most of our guys did not stay with their guys.”
Nyassi may have felt the second goal precipitated the defeat, but Nicol pointed to the first of Alvaro Saborio's two goals – a simple, unmarked finish from another accurate Russell cross seven minutes after the break – as the turning point that ended the match as a contest.
“The third goal is the one that finishes it,” Nicol said. “If we can get some chances and maybe get a goal then we are right back in it. Again, the third one is the one that does it. It was just poor defending on the play.”
Two more goals – a cheeky Saborio backheel after 57 minutes and Robbie Findley's capper with five minutes to play – concluded another wretched night in Utah for New England and left Nyassi to lament about his side's struggles at Rio Tinto Stadium.
“It’s just bad,” Nyassi said. “Last year we came up here and lost 6-0 and this year we come here and we lose 5-0. It’s just disheartening. We just have to forget about this one and move on to the next one.”