FOXBORO, MA - AUGUST 4: Kei Kamara #23 of Sporting KC pulls on the shirt of Chris Tierney #8 of New England Revolution during the second half of Sporting KC's 1-0 win at Gillette Stadium on August 4, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
It seemed that everybody was ready to point out how physical Sporting Kansas City was on Saturday night against the Revs. And, yeah, they’re right—KC really took it to us. But let’s not forget that this was the third time we played them this year. So, shouldn’t that physical element have been part of the game plan coming into this one? This was the same team we played two weeks ago, so not much could have really changed, right?
That being said, this match was really one to forget. As Steve said to me in the press box shortly after the final whistle, nobody did anything particularly wrong--save for Clyde Simms' back-pass that led to the goal, which he was more than ready to own up to--but nobody really did anything right either. And maybe that's our issue lately; maybe the Revs just need to reach that point where they realize that just simply not making mistakes isn't enough to win games.
The biggest problem on Saturday night was pretty clear to all involved: the Revs just simply don’t have a physical presence on the pitch. With our small midfielders getting knocked around every turn and Saer Sene being easily out-muscled in the box, it’s no wonder the Revs have their tail between their legs after this one. Honestly, the most physical player I saw out there for New England was Diego Fagundez… and he’s 17 years old.
I will say though, that, although he blew his opportunities to basically win this one, Dimitry Imbongo just may be better than both Blake Brettschneider and the now parted Jose Moreno. It seems pretty clear (though not entirely proven yet) that Jerry Bengtson will fill that complimentary striker role, but Imbongo didn't look half bad, that's all I'm saying. Maybe there's something that just needs to be unlocked. But, also, maybe he just needs to spend some time on the reserve squad for a while. Maybe the kid just needs to get hungry.
As for our defense, well, we need some reinforcements. I like Stephen McCarthy and I like A.J. Soares (a lot), but I like them best when they are together. That's not to say that Darrius Barnes hasn't played well. In fact, I think he has had a good stretch of games lately. But I would like to see the Revs bring in one or two defenders, ideally a center-back who can slot right in and own that back-line when called upon. It might be just about time to give this defense a little push.
So, where do we go from here? the questions are mounting for the Revs and clearly nobody is happy with what's happening in Foxboro right now. So, where do we start to pick up the pieces? Well, I think it’s pretty simple: somebody needs to step up and be this team’s leader I'm not necessarily saying that we need to determine a new captain right now, but someone needs to take the reins. It's hard to say just who would be the best fit, but one thing is for sure: it's basically anyone's for the taking.
It took me a while to gather my thoughts for this, and I'm still having a tough time processing this game. But, the way I see it, if this truly is just purely a rebuilding year, then progress has already been made. Did anyone really expect Jay Heaps to come in and win the 2012 MLS Cup? No. What I think we need to see at this point, with the playoffs basically out of reach, is just a reason to believe that these are just growing pains; that there's a light at the end of the tunnel.