An early goal, sloppy defending, poor passing, and a lack of inventiveness were all factors that doomed the Revs in Montreal on Saturday night, snapping their 7-game unbeaten streak and 5-game win streak with a 2-0 loss to the Impact. First half goals from Andres Romero and typical Revs-killer Jack McInerney put New England in a hole that they were never able to climb out of.
It was a shambolic first half for the Revolution defense, who were sloppy and unfocused for long stretches allowing the Impact to jump out to a 2-0 lead. It was Montreal winger Andres Romero who struck first not long after the initial whistle. In the 3rd minute the Revolution backline was caught ball watching and as a result lost Romero's run into the box. Di Vaio played a perfect ball to the streaking midfielder and Romero beat Bobby Shuttleworth with ease.
It looked pretty clear right from the start that Montreal was well-equipped with a game-plan for the Revoluton coming into this match. They battled for every second ball and won most of them, keeping the Revs off their game and not allowing them the room to transition into an attack. After a torrid spell of pressure-absorbing by the Revs, they eventually broke again in the 38th minute when Issey Nakajima-Farran's long distance effort was stopped but spilled by Shuttleworth and an unmarked McInerney was able to bury the rebound clinically.
On the attacking side of things, the Revs tried to get on the score sheet with a handful of corner kicks, free kicks, and attacking throw-ins, but New England could only muster 3 shots on target all game. Their first good look came by way of Kelyn Rowe, who was inserted into the starting lineup by Jay Heaps in place of Daigo Kobayashi, in the 54th minute. The youngster tracked back to dispossess an ensuing Montreal attacker and then proceeded to make a piercing run through the middle of the pitch and unleashed a long-range shot that Impact keeper Troy Perkins just barely tipped over the bar. Rowe would eventually be the first substitute off to make way for Daigo Kobayashi in the 62nd minute.
The Impact took their foot off the gas in the second half, but they stayed tight and compact, forcing the Revolution to play the ball out wide instead of link up passes through the middle. Unfortunately, it was an off night for both Revolution fullbacks, who were unable to provide any significant service to Revolution attackers.
Andrew Farrell was almost able to give the Revs a glimmer of hope when he looked to be brought down in the box in the 80th minute after a quick passing sequence with Teal Bunbury, but referee Silviu Petrescu saw the play differently and waved off the call for a penalty kick.
After plenty of close calls on defense and some build-up play ultimately leading to nothing, the final whistle blew and in turn handed the Revs their first loss since April 5th. It was also the first game since then that New England was held without a goal.
In hindsight, it could be argued that the early goal from Romero prevented the Revs from ever really finding their rhythm and thus a way back into the match. Jay Heaps and his squad will have a week to prepare for their next opponent, the New York Red Bulls, and hopefully get themselves back to winning ways before MLS breaks for the first two weeks of the World Cup.