FRISCO, Texas – Closing out a three-game week in the Texas heat was always going to be a tough task, and on Sunday night it proved insurmountable as the New England Revolution saw their five-game winning streak halted with a 2-1 loss to FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.
It was a generally sloppy night for the visitors, who struggled to break down a Dallas squad that was content to sit deep and soak up pressure after Ricardo Pepi restored the hosts’ lead with his second goal of the game in the 54th minute. By the end of the night the Revs had registered 16 shots, including five on target, but they rarely troubled FCD goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer beyond Gustavo Bou’s first-half goal, his team-leading fifth of the season and his fourth in his last four appearances.
“Not much to say,” head coach Bruce Arena said in his opening postgame remarks. “A poor performance on our part. I think we deserved to lose the game.”
“I think once FC Dallas went up a goal, they were willing to give us possession,” added Matt Polster. “It really wasn’t our doing and we just needed to create better chances. They were always going to give us more possession and hold on to that 2-1 lead. It’s just really difficult and frustrating for us, the last three games, to give up two goals in each of them. You’re not going to win many games like that in MLS.”
To Polster’s point, after conceding just seven goals through their first eight games the Revs have since conceded six in their last three. They were able to overcome those defensive errors in their previous matches with 3-2 wins over New York City FC and the New York Red Bulls, but the offensive breakthrough never arrived on Sunday night in Frisco.
“I don’t think any of us are happy with our performances,” said Brandon Bye, who set up Bou’s goal with a right-wing cross. “Going forward we’re okay, but as defenders, our first job is to defend. The back four – I mean, it’s even more than just the back four – honestly, we need to take pride in not giving up goals, and we haven’t done that in the last three games. That’s something we have to talk about, something we have to get over and get through. But we’ll figure it out.”
“Everybody’s legs are heavy, so that’s not much of an excuse,” said Polster. “I think at the end of the day, like I said before, giving up two goals in the last three matches is just not good enough. We need to be better defensively, and that was the case tonight. If we were good defensively, I think we win this game.”
New England’s objective now will be to bounce back in short order. They followed their only previous loss this season with a 5-0-1 run through their next six games, and they’ll be hoping to start a similar stretch when they visit the Columbus Crew next Saturday evening, when they’ll open Lower.com Field with a nationally-televised meeting with the defending champs (5 p.m. ET, ESPN).
“It’s a 34-game season, but we have to limit these nights to as little as possible, try to be as perfect as possible throughout the season,” said Bye. “We have to bounce back and obviously correct some mistakes, some areas, that we made tonight. But again, big weekend ahead of us and that’s something to look forward to.”