FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – In the aftermath of last week's scoreless draw against Sporting Kansas City, Revolution coach Jay Heaps and his players cited the windy conditions as they explained why they couldn't produce the desired impetus, incisiveness and quality in the attacking third.
They could not find a similar justification for the unimpressive display in the first half of Saturday afternoon's 1-0 defeat against FC Dallas.
“The first half, there wasn't enough movement, enough moving the ball quickly,” Heaps told MLSsoccer.com. “A lot of what we worked on all week seemed to go away.”
The manner of the first half – a stanza where FCD enjoyed 62 percent of the possession, according to statistics from Opta, and produced nearly all of the opportunities – prompted the Revs to reassess their objectives heading into the second half. Heaps and his players regrouped during the break and supplied strident reminders of the magnitude of the task ahead against the Western Conference leaders.
“We got a nice speech at halftime, saying that we needed to work harder and that our possession [was] too slow,” Revolution forward Diego Fagundez said. “We came out in the second half to try to get better in possession and try to get three points.”
The words of encouragement yielded an improved, if still imperfect, display after the break. Kevin Alston, Jerry Bengtson and Juan Toja all went close to opening the scoring as the Revs asserted themselves on the ball (59 percent of possession in the second half, according to Opta) and posed more of a threat to the FCD rearguard after the interval.
All of those efforts ultimately went for naught when Blas Pérez popped up three minutes from time to settle the match with a header. The final outcome provided a stark reminder that the Revs cannot afford slog through a half without escaping from the consequences, according to goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
“I thought we had the better of the chances, the better of the run of play [in the second half],” goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth said. “They had a couple of half-chances and that kind of stuff. It's not a good enough effort from all of us, I think, at home, especially in the first half. Everyone has to be better from start to finish, myself included.”