Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for the New England Revolution, it did.
After carrying a four-game losing streak down to New York, the Revs need to make room in their return luggage for another loss after the cunning New York Red Bulls dissected a downtrodden New England side with three goals in the first 12 minutes, rolling ultimately to a 4-1 win.
A week after allowing three goals to FC Dallas, the New England defense was again picked apart, only this time it was fast and furious, leaving little room for them to even consider a courageous comeback.
“We have to be better, we have to hold ourselves accountable,” said coach Jay Heaps following the loss. “We as staff, we have to get the guys playing better and right now we’re not doing it. We prepared for the opening 15 minutes for maybe two months, but we knew the first 15 minutes were going to be key to this game and rather than it being an objective, it actually became a major problem.”
Those opening minutes of Saturday’s match saw the Revolution on their heels and hesitant, allowing the hungry Red Bulls to exploit nearly each and every inch given to them.
In the process, a thin defensive unit was exposed, seeming to lack quality communication which lead to giveaways and opportunities that New York capitalized on thanks to two early strikes from Bradley Wright-Phillips and another from Lloyd Sam.
“[We] just gave away too many things in our own half and they played right through us and got good chances and finished them well,” said goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. “We knew they were going to come out like that in the first 10 minutes and we didn’t take care of business and it cost us three points.”
While New England’s defensive unit was already battling depth issues through injuries to Darrius Barnes, Kevin Alston and even Jermaine Jones, who had at times filled in at center back, the Revs were dealt another blow heading into next week’s match against NYCFC as captain Jose Goncalves was called for bringing down Sal Zizzo in the box, leading to his second yellow card of the match and an automatic red-card suspension next week.
And meanwhile the club continues to leak goals. Prior to their current slide, the Revolution had not conceded a goal within the first 18 minutes of play, but over their last five matches they have given up five goals in that time frame.
“We’re having conversations all the time about it, it’s just how quickly it can be pulled off and it’s unrealistic for next game,” Heaps said about the possibilities of adding more bodies to a defensive unit that has surrendered more goals (33) than any other club. “But, it’s a concern for us.”
Craig Forde covers the New England Revolution for MLSsoccer.com.