MONTREAL – Employing an attack-minded, possession-based approach, it’s essential for the New England Revolution to be sharp when passing the ball through midfield and into the final third. It’s a style which has often worked wonders for the Revs through the first half of the 2012 season.
But when the sharpness is absent, so are the scoring chances. According to Revs head coach Jay Heaps, that was largely the reason for their struggles in Wednesday night’s 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact.
“Overall, it wasn’t a good performance,” said Heaps. “Unfortunately, it was a quick turnaround (from Saturday’s loss to Toronto) and we didn’t have enough guys have good enough games. When we lose the ball in the spaces we lost the ball (it hurts us). The way we played most of the season, we hadn’t been losing it in those areas. So we lost it in areas where it cost us.
“When you go back and look at our film, whenever we’ve been able to break teams down, it’s because it’s sharp,” he added. “Guys have their first touch put them into a chance to score. Tonight, it just seemed like it was one step away, a half-yard away and it wasn’t there.”
Despite conceding much of the possession in the early stages and falling behind to Patrice Bernier’s 28th-minute penalty kick, the Revs found a lifeline just before halftime when Lee Nguyen’s blistering drive ricocheted off the crossbar and then off Impact goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts before nestling into the back of the net. The goal pulled the Revolution level and gave them a much-needed boost heading into the locker room.
But the boost didn’t materialize in the second half and the Revolution struggled to generate scoring chances, while Sanna Nyassi scored with a fantastic full volley at the other end of the field in the 67th minute to condemn the Revs to their second straight loss.
“It was not a great half for us in the first half and I thought, ‘Well, we’re still in this,’” said Heaps. “Sometimes you catch a break and you don’t have a good half. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a very good second half. We had a worse second half than the first.”
With a trip to Sporting Kansas City and a third game in eight days looming on Saturday, the Revs have little time to dwell on the midweek setback. Instead they’ll look to each other for inspiration and motivation ahead of another tough test against the team currently at the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
“We’ve just got to find a way,” said Heaps. “At this point there’s got to be some guys held accountable and guys holding each other accountable. We hold them accountable as a staff, but now it’s about players themselves holding each other accountable.”