All good things must come to an end, and the New England Revolution’s seven game unbeaten streak ended Saturday night as they lost 2-0 in Montreal. This was New England’s worst performance since the opening night defeat in Houston, and will have given coach Jay Heaps plenty to think about on the plane ride home.
The worst team in MLS were all over the Revs from the opening minute and went ahead in the third minute, when a great one-two between Andres Romero and Marco Di Vaio carved open the New England defense allowing Romero to slide to ball past Bobby Shuttleworth for his third of the season.
Montreal’s second goal, in the 38th minute, was all Nakajima-Farran. Montreal’s newest acquisition ran down the left unchallenged and powered a shot which bounced off Shuttleworth’s chest and fell for Jack McInerney. It was McInerney’s fourth of the season, and his fifth career goal in 10 games against the Revs.
Heaps and the Revs coaching staff were unable to make in-game adjustments to the Impact’s tactics. The Impact pressured New England up-high, not allowing the Revs to build out from the back at their own pace. As a result, the passes were often rushed as the players did not have the time to make the right decision.
And when they had the ball, Montreal continuously played long crosses deep into the attacking zone, something the Revs back four could not handle. This was unexpected as New England has one of the best defenses in MLS, but on Saturday night it was the basics that let them down; handing a long diagonal pass and the movement of a center forward (McInerney).
Heaps alluded to the Impact’s tactics causing them problems in his post game teleconference saying:
“They were hard for us to prepare for,” said Heaps. “They played us a variety of different systems. I don’t think anyone underestimated [Montreal] because the message all week was that this team is very dangerous and if you give them anything they’ll take advantage of it, and that’s’ what they did.”
The high pressure is something that DC United tried a week ago, but not quite with the success that Montreal does. It will be interesting to see how Heaps adjusts this week in training as I am sure the New York Red Bulls next weekend will be adopting the same tactics.