The New England Revolution winless streak against the Philadelphia Union is now up to 8 after a late goal from Jack McInerney helped the Union defeat the Revs 1-0 tonight in Philly.
New England fans were hoping that the team would build on last week’s 1-0 win in Chicago, but except for the last 10 minutes, this looked a lot like the 2012 New England Revolution.
A couple of things stood out for me in the Revs performance. One is the lack of understanding between central defenders José Gonçalves and A.J. Soares. We saw it in Chicago and it continued again tonight. They look like they have never played together, and have no understanding that when one player goes for the ball the other one covers. Speed can cover some mistakes, but when New England play against the top MLS sides (which the Union and Fire are not) they will get punished for these mistakes.
The team seems to lack an identity. It’s like New England cannot decide whether they want to be Stoke City or Barcelona! During the Revs losing streak last season, Jay Heaps seemed to change his philosophy from playing the ball out through the defence and midfield, to a longer ball approach up to the forwards. The problem is that Jerry Bengtson is not the type of striker who can hold up the ball so that the midfield can get involved in the play. As a result, the ball keeps coming back, putting the New England defense under more pressure. Which is why Philadelphia had 56.1% of the possession tonight.
But in the last 10 minutes, when they were chasing the game, we started to see New England play in triangles and move the ball around with pace. It is not a coincidence that the Revolution created their best chances of the game in the last 10 minutes when they started passing and moving.
Two games into the season and can we declare that the Juan Carlos Toja experiment in the number ten role is not working? He was poor again tonight, and missed a glorious chance to tie the game up in the last five minutes.
After starting the season with back-to-back road games, the Revs will now return to Gillette Stadium for their 2013 home opener. They’ll host Sporting Kansas City on Saturday, March 23, with kickoff set for 4 p.m.