Houston 4, New England 0 - Rough Start to 2014 for Revs

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off an impressive 2013 campaign, the Revolution wanted to start off 2014 on the right foot. This was not that start.

You had a feeling that maybe two or thirteen or even twenty-three minutes into the game that it was just not going to be the New England Revolution's night in Houston.

And when Ricardo Clark's stoppage time shot was redirected by Omar Cumming's unsuspecting face past a wrong-footed Bobby Shuttleworth for the Dynamo's fourth goal of the contest, well by that point the game wasn't really in doubt.

The Houston Dynamo score early and often against the Revs, jumping out to an early 3-0 in the first half and finished with an impressive and emphatic 4-0 win to start the 2014 MLS regular season.

It was a night to forget for the Revolution, who looked completely disorginized on defense and spent most of the first half chasing the ball and the game. Despite a decent showing towards the end of the first half and flashes of brilliance in the second, their finishing touch was missing, often finding the post or being blocked out altogether by the Houston defense.

It all started when Will Bruin found a pocket of space at the top of the area seconds into the game. He passed it out wide to the right flank and Kofi Sarkodie center the ball again. Revs centerback Jose Goncalves tried to intercept, but the ball bounced back to Bruin who calmly volleyed home to the far post.

Ten minutes later it was Bruin again, this time assisted by Corey Ashe. Ashe dispossessed rookie winger Patrick Mullins deep in his own half and fired a cross to the back post where Bruin was unmarked. The sliding finish was Bruin's second of the game, a relief to the striker who scored only 10 goals in all competitions last year for Houston.

In the 23rd minute it was Bruin who provided the assist for the Dynamo's third goal. Following a goal kick from Tally Hall, Brad Davis settled the ball and centered for Bruin, who attacked the Revs backline and held off a challenge from Scott Caldwell. At the top of the box, he found Oscar Boniek Garcia who touched around a lunging Chris Tierney and powered a shot past a helpless Shuttleworth.

The Revs were able to settle down but not before losing right back Kevin Alston to an injury. The reigning Comeback Player of the Year was forced to leave the game after just 20 minutes, Darrius Barnes replaced him with Andrew Farrell back in New England not making the trip with his own injury.

New England was able to generate some chances but nothing would get past Tally Hall. Diego Fagundez found Kelyn Rowe with a wonderful chip into the area but the volleyed effort from Rowe has high. Jerry Bengtson would sky a midair volley from point blank range over the crossbar and Teal Bunbury was hard pressed to see one of his efforts find only the woodwork. A scrum in the middle of Hall's six year box would result with Fagundez on the ground and the ball out for a Revolution corner.

But even while the Revs pushed forward, Houston was able to counter and generate a number of tremendous one-on-one chances vs. Shuttleworth, who had five saves on the night. The Revs keeper stonewalled both Will Bruin on a breakaway and Omar Cummings from close range as well as a beautiful save at full stretch on a curling effort from Andrew Driver. Despite his effort, Shuttleworth will take the loss and a gaudy 4.00 GAA to start the season.

The Revolution were just unable to pick themselves out of such a deep early hole, despite the positives they could take from the majority of the second half. They'll look to rebound on the road against the Philadelphia Union next week at PPL Park.

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