If Jay Heaps was "flipping mad" last week over set pieces, I wonder how he's feeling after this one. Before long, teams are really going to get smart to the fact that we are totally incapable of defending on set pieces, if they haven't already. That and also the fact that Saer Sene cannot use his right foot in the box.
Seriously though, what's going on with set pieces? Why is this so difficult? What needs to change? Well, maybe a start would be to shuffle the back-line up a bit. Learning that John Lozano is the 3rd highest paid player on this team makes you really wonder why he isn't seeing more time, especially in light of the many defensive troubles we've seen so far this season. Jay scouted him himself, right? And clearly he and Mike Burns though he was worth what they paid for him, so why haven't we seen more of him? Now, of course, I don't know what goes on in training. But, if you ask me, it's time that Lozano gets a good few starts in so that we can really see what our options are. I like Stephen McCarthy, and I actually think he played a decent game against D.C. Unites, but his mental lapses are costing us too frequently.
Speaking of costly mistakes, Fernando Cardenas still has plenty of room for improvement. What he adds to this team in terms of talent, pace, and spark is undeniable, but he is also guilty of some poor decision making as well. In fact, DC's game winning goal all started from a Cardenas giveaway. Nobody's perfect, of course, and there were plenty of ways that we could have defended better on that 3rd goal, but the fact of the matter is that Cardenas needs to start playing smarter if he wants to keep getting minutes and flirt with a starting XI spot.
I thought that Benny Feilhaber had a pretty good game, or an improved game at least. Firstly, he battled on defense quite a bit, particularly with Dwayne De Rosario, which is surely no easy task. He also took command of the midfield once he was shifted centrally due to Ryan Guy's injury. What Benny brings to the table in the CAM role is pretty substantial, I feel. From there, he has the vision to pick out through passes, such as the pass to Sene in the first half which Sene almost got past Bill Hamid on for a goal. And his blast from the top of the box was a beauty, and obviously resulted in Sene's goal off the rebound.
When Clyde Simms and Shalrie Joseph are at full strength, it's hard to justify putting Benny in the middle, but that's where I think he needs to be. Maybe we need to use a 4-5-1 formation more, I don't know, but if I were Jay Heaps I would find a way to get him in there.
Also, what happened to the Kelyn Rowe from pre-season? We've seen so much quality and potential from him, but it seems to just not be translating to regular-season MLS play, save for the LA Galaxy game. I'm stumped on this one. He came in and was pretty invisible for most of his pitch-time. Although, I will say, his header which almost gave the Revs the late equalizer was fantastic. That's the kind of attacking ability that you want to see from him, and I think also what we've sort of come to expect from him. More of that, please.
At the end of the day, the Revolution failed to exact revenge in this one, and still have yet to win against an Eastern Conference opponent. They'll get their next opportunity to change that this Saturday against the Chicago Fire. First, though, they'll have to focus on beating the Harrisburg City Islanders tonight in their first US Open Cup match of 2012. Surely there are a lot of questions that need answers--I just hope they come quickly.