FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – When A.J. Soares pulled the New England Revolution level with a powerful header just five minutes into the second half of Saturday night’s meeting with the Columbus Crew, there was a sense among the Revolution players that this was the night they would finally snap their lengthy losing streak.
But it wasn’t to be. Chance after chance went begging in the following half-hour before Ethan Finlay broke behind the Revs backline in the 84th minute, latched onto Justin Meram’s chipped pass and buried his shot to send the Revs to a 2-1 loss and their eighth straight league defeat.
Crew forward Federico Higuain scored a sumptuous free kick moments before halftime – the eighth straight time the Revs have conceded the game’s opening goal in the first half – but New England responded with Soares’ goal. Unfortunately, there was no second goal to be found, leaving the door open for Finlay’s winner.
“That’s obviously a tough way to go into halftime, especially when you break the game plan a little bit,” head coach Jay Heaps said of the Higuain goal. “That said, I think our guys responded well at halftime. They came out with the right energy, got the goal and then I thought there was two or three chances that when we needed to make a play, we didn’t.”
For the second straight game the Revs felt the effort and the energy was there to get a result, but the execution was lacking. Throughout this losing streak the Revs have felt they’ve lacked sharpness at both ends of the field.
“As much as the play is in the middle of the field and back and forth, it comes down to what happens at each end of the field,” said Scott Caldwell. “We’re not doing well enough at each end. We’ve got to change that.”
Saturday night’s loss saw the Revs tumble out of the playoff picture just two months after they held sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference. But there’ll be another chance to get back on track just four days from now when the Colorado Rapids visit Gillette Stadium for a midweek tilt.
It’s an opportunity the Revs know they need to take.
“You’ve got to roll up your sleeves and keep going forward,” said Heaps. “It’s awful. It’s really tough, but at the same time, you’ve got to keep perspective and keep digging. I think our guys, we’ve got to keep going. We have a really young team and we know we can win games in this league, and we’ve got to find a way quick.”