FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – One week after limiting the Chicago Fire to zero shots on target in a comfortable shutout victory the New England Revolution struggled defensively against FC Dallas on Saturday night, conceding four goals at home for the first time in almost three years in a 4-2 loss.
“Overall, defensively, we obviously weren’t good,” said Chris Tierney, who played 67 minutes at left back after missing four games with a hamstring injury. “We conceded four goals at home, and you’re not going to win any games doing that. It wasn’t a good night for us.”
The problems began in just the third minute when Bobby Shuttleworth rushed off his line to collect a long pass, only to upend Michael Barrios and hand the visitors an early penalty kick. Tesho Akindele converted from the spot to put the Revolution in an early hole.
To their credit the Revs responded well to the adversity, getting a pair of quick-fire goals from Juan Agudelo and Lee Nguyen just three minutes apart midway through the first half to take a 2-1 lead.
But Atiba Harris pulled FCD level before halftime before Fabian Castillo pounced on a defensive error in the 70th minute and Akindele salted the game away with his second in the closing stages.
“The second half, I thought their strategy was really good,” head coach Jay Heaps said of Dallas’ approach. “They waited, they baited and they found places to attack. They really went after our center backs and found places to get after our center backs.”
Andrew Farrell was playing with his third different center back partner in three weeks as Samba made his first MLS start after making an abbreviated debut last weekend. The Portuguese defender was strong at times, but was culpable on Castillo’s winner as he failed to clear a looping pass over the top.
“There were moments where Samba was good and bad,” said Heaps. “He was up and down.”
Samba was one of two changes on the backline following last week’s shutout, as Tierney returned at left back and Je-Vaughn Watson shifted from the middle to the right side of defense.
“It’s always difficult when players come in and out, but that’s not an excuse,” said Tierney. “We’re confident in the group we have. Anyone who slots in and plays in that back four, we feel is good enough to put in a performance. None of us did that tonight.
“Conceding four goals, there’s really nothing positive to take and we’re not going to pretend like there is.”
The Revs have now split the first two games of their three-game homestand, and they’ll need to rebound next weekend against Seattle Sounders FC in the final game before the extended Copa America break.
“We’ve got to get better,” said Farrell. “We’ve got Seattle coming in, another good team, so we’ve got to take care of business next Saturday.”