The Montreal Impact beat the New England Revolution 1-0 at Gillette Stadium tonight thanks to a brilliant goal by Sanna Nyassi in the 61st minute.
It was a pretty drab first half with New England coming closest to scoring as first Tierney and then Sene rattled the woodwork.
Montreal set the tome for the game early when Patrice Bernier was lucky not to be given a straight red card for a brutal tackle on Benny Feilhaber inside the first ten minutes. Without the physical presence of Shalrie Joseph in the middle of the park, teams have realized that they can stop the Revolution playing by being physical and New England’s response is to resort to long balls to the forwards.
But it is not just the physical play that is New England’s downfall this season. Earlier in the season, the three Revs midfield players where compacting the midfield and Alston and Tierney were getting forward to give the team width. Think back to the win against the LA Galaxy in the beginning of the season where Tierney ran riot overlapping on the left.
Now the fullbacks stay more at home, meaning the midfield is getting so congested that the Revolution is forced to play long balls up to the forwards, a style reminiscent of former New England boss Steve Nicol.
The Montreal goal has to be a candidate for goal of the week. Benny Feilhaber lost the ball outside the Montreal penalty box and Nyassi picked it up and ran 60 yards before firing an unstoppable shot into the top corner. A terrific goal.
After conceding the goal, Montreal sat back, inviting New England to attack them, but the Revolution could not turn that pressure into a goal, despite two really good chances for Saer Sene. Sene had three really good chances tonight and didn’t bury any of them, and that has been the Revolution’s weakness all season, scoring 26 goals in 23 games. It is hard to win games when you only average one goal a game.
After the game, New England coach Jay Heaps said simply that the performance was “not good enough”.
This is a big test for Jay Heaps in his first season as a coach. New England are winless in their last six games as teams have figured out how to play against New England. The question is whether Heaps and Revs can make an adjustment?