FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – There was no room for tact following Sunday afternoon’s 2-0 loss to FC Cincinnati, the New England Revolution’s second straight loss at Gillette Stadium to begin the season and their third consecutive defeat after a season-opening draw in Dallas.
“We were not ready from minute one to compete with these guys. They won all the second balls,” said Antonio Delamea. “Today, what we gave out there was not nearly 50 percent … It’s tough times for us, and we need to do much, much better.”
“The two halves were completely different,” added head coach Brad Friedel. “You had one half that we probably had five or six players that lacked any kind of desire to work. It’s as simple as that.”
That lack of desire to work led, as Delamea mentioned, to Cincinnati winning most of the second balls, and that contributed directly to the visitors’ opening goal in the 44th minute. Stand-in center back Forrest Lasso won a header in midfield before Kekuta Manneh won possession and distributed the ball wide to Kenny Saief, who then delivered a simple cross for Manneh to tap home from the middle of the box.
It wasn’t a lack of technical ability or an opponent who simply carved the Revs open – it was a second ball won in midfield and an untracked run into the box that undid the Revolution, and that’s what left Friedel so frustrated after the final whistle.
“If (Kendall) Waston was playing or Lasso’s playing, you realistically don’t want to be hitting long balls in their area,” said Friedel. “That’s exactly how it happened. They win the second ball, they counter.”
For the fourth straight week Friedel noted an improved second-half performance from the Revs, but they forced just two saves from FC Cincinnati goalkeeper Spencer Richey – back-to-back from Carles Gil and Diego Fagundez in a 61st-minute sequence – and were shut out at home for the second straight game.
But Friedel said he’s not concerned with the lack of goals, pointing to Juan Fernando Caicedo’s return to health and Gil’s continued integration with his new teammates.
“I’m not worried about our offense clicking,” Friedel said. “Carles will get used to a lot of the players. Juan Fernando Caicedo is now (back) – hopefully he doesn’t have a reaction after doing 30 minutes today – and he can contribute some more. Andrew Farrell’s just about fit, so on the right-hand side hopefully he can contribute some more minutes with crosses into the box and things of that nature.”
Farrell will hope to make his 2019 debut next weekend when the Revs host Minnesota United FC at Gillette Stadium (Saturday, 2 p.m.), and they’ll need a big-time response against a new-look MNUFC side to prevent their first winless start through five games since 2001.
“Disappointing result, but we’ve got to keep going and keep grinding,” said Teal Bunbury. “I know people hate hearing that. The fans hate hearing that. Us players, it gets old, but that’s all we can do is move forward.”