LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Brad Friedel didn’t mince words after his New England Revolution were bounced from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in the fourth round on Tuesday night.
Friedel questioned his side’s work ethic and energy following their 3-2 loss to defending USL Cup champions Louisville City FC, a result that ended the Revolution’s hopes of making a third consecutive deep run in the competition after they were finalists in 2016 and quarterfinalists last season.
“We broke a very important rule – when you go and play teams that are in lower divisions than yourself … you have to at least match their work rate,” said Friedel. “It’s a very simple thing. We spoke about it for the last two days. We spoke about it right before we went out on the field.
“It wasn’t until Juan (Agudelo) came on the field, until Kelyn (Rowe) came on the field (in the second half) that there was any sort of energy whatsoever with our team. I’m just really disappointed that some players had a chance to impress tonight and they didn’t take it.”
It was a sloppy start for both sides on Tuesday night as the Revs capitalized on a pair of mistakes to take a 1-0 lead through Mark Segbers in the fifth minute and then a 2-1 lead via own goal in the 26th minute, but they failed to use those moments to spur them forward, as Louisville carried much of the play on a warm evening at Lynn Stadium.
Brian Ownby was the hero for the hosts with an assist on Louisville’s opener and a stunning long-range winner, and that helped the home crowd harness the energy that Louisville brought to the game.
“We talked about it. We had to be ready against a team like this,” said Louisville native and former University of Louisville standout Andrew Farrell. “They’ve been together for three years, won a championship last year. They were hungry for this. You could tell they wanted it.
“When you don’t match the desire and the work rate, a team can punish you. Anybody can beat you. They’re a great team. They’ve got great players, and we didn’t show up today. That’s on us. We’ve got to do better than that.”
While Friedel was pointed in his postgame comments, he noted that he’s never once questioned the desire or work rate of Farrell, but with regards to those he did feel lacked energy, Friedel said it’s up to every individual player to hold themselves accountable.
“Each and every day, you owe it to yourself as a player to bring the energy,” Friedel said. “It’s not for somebody else to corral it with the group. It is a bare minimum requirement to work hard when you play soccer. The best players in the world, the most technically gifted players in the world, they all work hard – every single one of them. You can never just stroll out onto the field and expect to get results.
“I think they felt they’ll put the shirt on, they’re an MLS team, they’ll come out and they deserve to win the game. I’m afraid that’s not how it works. That’s not how it works anywhere in the world in cup competitions.”
Unfortunately for the Revs, their run in this cup competition has come to an abrupt end, and now they’ll need to quickly turn their focus back to the league, as they’ll briefly return home before departing on a two-game trip through Chicago and San Jose later this week.
“It’s a disappointing result for us, but not a lot of time to think about it,” said Farrell. “We’ve got to move on to league play now against Chicago and San Jose, two tough teams, two tough places to get points. But in league play we’ve been doing a good job, and we’ve got to keep going.”