The New England Revolution could not hold onto a 1-0 lead and coughed up two late goals in losing to Real Salt Lake 2-1 at Gillette in front of 8,040 fans. The Revs got a phantom penalty call in the 90th minute, but Saer Sene missed with what is one of the worst penalties you will ever see.
For long periods of the game, New England controlled the game. Heaps continued with his now preferred formation. He had Caldwell in the holding role instead of Simms, but with Guy and Fagundez providing width and Rowe and Nguyen controlling the midfield, the Revs controlled long periods of the game.
New England used its speed and counter-attacking ability to carve open the RSL defence repeatedly but they could not convert the chances they created. Striker Jerry Bengtson was the worse offender, missing three really good scoring opportunities. If New England are to reach the playoffs they need to find a way to get Bengtson to play like he does for Honduras.
Finally in the 51st minute New England turn their possession into a goal when Rowe broke down the right and hit a wonderful ball across for Guy to volley home. Terrific goal and I expected New England to go on and get another one or two.
But after the goal, the Revs lost their way a little, and Jay Heaps reached for his subs. Big mistakes. Heaps replaced Diego with Sene and Nguyen with Tofa. Toja picked up a yellow card literally seconds after going on and the momentum started to swing RSL’s way.
After the game, Revs boss Jay Heaps that he looks for energy from his subs to pick up the team, but tonight it they deflated the team instead.
Not sure what Heaps sees in Toja. For every nice flick or back heel he makes, he gives the ball away four or five times. The Rev midfield is built on working hard and then attacking with speed. These are two attributes that Toja has.
For the first time all game, RSL started to control the midfield and put pressure on the Revs defense. And that pressure paid off three minutes after Nguyen was substituted, when Sandoval scored after good work from Grababoy and Velasquez.
Real Salt Lake continued to press forward and they got an underserved winner in the 89th minute when Beckerman was left unmarked from a corner. Shuttleworth made a great save from his volley but Garcia was in the right place to slots home the rebound.
Overall a disappointing loss for New England. The new formation that Heaps is using is creating chances, which wasn’t happening a couple of games ago, but the Revs need to learn to convert those chances into goals or it will be another frustrating season in New England.