Sep 1, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; Philadelphia Union forward Antoine Hoppenot (left) and New England Revolution defender Florian Lechner (right) battle for a loose ball during the second half at Gillette Stadium. The teams played to a 0-0 tie. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
10 games without a win. It's the easiest stat to dwell on. And it should be dwelled on. I think you know why.
But there are other stats from the match that are worth noting as well. From the run of play, for example, the Revolution and the Philadelphia Union were almost even in all categories except for two that stand out: Attempts on goal and possession. In fact, in those two categories the Union just about doubled what the Revs were able to produce; possession was 65%-35% in favor of the Union, who also out-shot New England 18 to 9.
The possession stat I could take or leave because, as we've seen this season, the Revs have been able to get results with less possession percentage than their opponent. But the attempts on goal is where I take issue. And my main issue is my frustration with New England's two sides of the game, defense and offense, not being on the same page. Or, as my colleague Abram tweeted yesterday, the two just not showing up on the same night... yet again.
I used this space a few weeks back to dig up some questions surrounding Jay Heaps' Revolution and the season that's played out this year. And I'm still waiting to see some answers. But the fact of the matter is: maybe we need to wait a year until we get those answers.
There's a lot of important pieces in motion right now. We've got a striker with double-digit goals, a deep midfield full of playmakers, and a hyped designated player with a lot of promise. What we don't have, however, is a confident defense. That seems to be a big missing piece at this point.
And despite the shutout against the Philadelphia Union, Matt Reis was still forced to make seven saves to keep the Revs in it-and don't forget the 18 attempts on goal. The fact of the matter is that a confident defense should be able to keep an opposing offense out of the range of goal more than that.
All season it's seemed that Jay Heaps was all in on the A.J. Soares/Stephen McCarthy partnership at center-back. But maybe now we're realizing that a more potent competition for minutes would have been advisable. Darrius Barnes, I would argue, has taken his few opportunities this season and really made the most of each of them.
There's simply not much to say about this Saturday's match. It was about as uninteresting as they come. This team's homework should be learning how to focus on more than one thing at a time. As we've said before, it's not enough to simply just not make mistakes. You need to capitalize on your opponent's mistakes as well. You need to counterattack, adjust your shape, press high, get crosses into the box, etc. There are countless elements to the game of soccer. The New England Revolution need to figure out how to combine more of them; they may just find that they'll get more results that way.