HOUSTON – This wasn’t how the New England Revolution wanted to open the 2014 season.
Houston Dynamo forward Will Bruin scored twice inside 13 minutes – including the opener after just 62 seconds – and from there the Revs couldn’t recover en route to an eventual 4-0 loss in Saturday night’s season opener at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Conceding just one minute into the season’s first match was a backbreaker for the Revolution, particularly considering the excitement and anticipation following a six-week preseason. But according to center back A.J. Soares, it was the lack of a response after falling behind which ultimately doomed the Revs.
“We’ve been there before and we need to respond better,” he said. “We can’t drop our heads and let them keep coming at us. We need to respond, we need to go get a goal. But we weren’t good enough today. They were better than us for the entire 90 minutes.”
There were flashes for the Revs, who threatened to pull themselves back into the match on multiple occasions. Soares hit the post with a powerful header late in the first half, while Diego Fagundez found the crossbar with a curling effort in the closing stages. Second-half substitute Jerry Bengtson had perhaps the evening’s best chance on 68 minutes when he skied an effort over the crossbar from inside the six-yard box.
But the goals never came and the urgency to press forward left New England exposed at the back. Goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth did what he could to keep the Revs within touching distance with a string of fine saves, but he could do nothing on Ricardo Clark’s stoppage-time drive which took a heavy deflection off Omar Cummings on its way to the back of the net.
“Some days you get your nose rubbed in it,” said Revolution head coach Jay Heaps, who felt his side was flat for the opening 30 minutes. “We certainly got our noses rubbed in it today and it didn’t smell very good.”
Saturday night’s comprehensive loss was a shock to New England’s system, to be sure, but with 33 regular-season games still on the docket, no one’s hitting the panic button quite yet. The Revs will simply regroup ahead of next weekend’s visit to the Philadelphia Union aiming to get back on track.
And following a disappointing season-opening result, they’ll do so with a bit of extra motivation.
“It hurts. It stings. So it’s going to fuel us going forward,” Soares said. “It’s the beginning of the season and you want to start with three points, but the positive is that we got our butts kicked and that means we’ve got to improve.”