The New England Revolution, after two consecutive wins, headed to Red Bull Arena on Saturday, facing a New York Red Bulls side winless in four. At first, recent form served as a decent predictor of the events, as the Revolution took the lead after a ninth minute penalty, but with each passing minute, the match began to slip away from them, resulting in a 2-1 loss.
For the players and head coach Jay Heaps, it was the tale of two halves, as they conceded just two minutes after halftime and it all started to go wrong.
It was all going according to plan at first, per Lee Nguyen.
“We started well, and we were able to do a lot of the things that we want to do,” the Revolution’s goalscorer said. “We held them scoreless in the first half, and we were able to nick a goal.”
The problems were beginning to show, eventually, as the Red Bulls began to take shot after shot at the Revolution goal. Despite that, Heaps remained positive on the opening 45 minutes.
“I thought the first half wasn’t pretty,” he said, “but we were able to bend, not break.”
Then, the equalizer came. It was through a big mistake from goalkeeper Cody Cropper, who first caught the ball, only for it to slip away and land at the feet of Bradley Wright-Phillips, who had little problem scoring from close range. “Gifting” the goal was a choice of words used by both Heaps and Nguyen.
It was a surprising moment, considering Cropper had made many important and impressive saves throughout the first half.
“Cody’s been so good for us [and] was so good for us in this game,” Chris Tierney said. “It was just really bad timing.”
“It’s a mistake,” Cropper added. “You live and you learn.”
Regardless, the goal switched the momentum once and for all in the match.
“It’s one of those things where you come out with a plan, and obviously things change, so you gotta come out with Plan B,” Nguyen remarked. Plan B, though, was no resounding success.
The captain seed he thought the Revs did well through stretched of the match, though noting that the very lopsided possession in favor of the Red Bulls ultimately contributed to the Revolution’s ultimate downfall.
“Their energy and their positivity goes up,” Heaps said about his opposition following Wright-Phillips’ goal, and eventually, their game winner came in the 74th minute through Daniel Royer.
“I think, when that went in, I don’t think we reacted as well as we know we can,” Cropper said. “Being [up] 1-0 for so long is a great feeling, and then when you concede … it’s tough to bounce back.”
The 2-1 scoreline was “was a tough pill to swallow” Heaps felt, but the Revolution take some positives from the match, such as the budding partnership between Xavier Kouassi and Gershon Koffie.
“This is only, obviously, their second time playing, but you can tell they’re two very intelligent players,” Nguyen said. “They’re able to kill a lot of plays in the midfield first,” particularly essential for the Revolution’s last two opponents, the Red Bulls and the Columbus Crew, according to the captain.
The Revolution may also benefit from a quick turnaround, with their next match coming up on Wednesday against New York City FC.
“We’ll look over the film,” Tierney said, “but then we get over it.”