The New England Revolution were six minutes away from escaping Providence Park with a point. It wasn't to be, however, as the Portland Timber's Fanendo Adi grabbed two quick-succession goals to steal victory. Here's a few thoughts from Saturday's 2-0 loss:
1. I’m not feeling the first substitution. Making his first change of the night, head coach Jay Heaps elected to enter Kevin Alston for Teal Bunbury, moving Chris Tierney to midfield. It’s not a bad idea since Tierney’s service widens play while Alston’s speed helps lock things down. The result, however, was undesirable. In final 26 minutes, the Revs allowed two goals, the second of which was created when Alves Powell attacked Alston’s side. Heaps has used this substitution pattern before with the same consequences. On May 8, the alteration was made in the 72nd minute of the Orlando City game with the Revs conceding in the 75th and 90th. It’s a classic case where an idea looks good on paper, but not in execution.
2. Lee Nguyen shouldn’t foul there. In the 85th minute, Nguyen was tasked with tracking Darlington Nagbe, which isn't an easy assignment by any means. After shrugging off a Ngyuen shoulder charge, Nagbe marched towards goal before being chopped down by the Revolution play-maker. The reckless challenge, which drew a yellow card, was unnecessary as the Revs looked equipped to neutralize the danger. The ensuring free kick led to goal, which all but sealed full points for the home side. Heaps addressed the moment in his post-game comments, saying, "I think that [the foul] was unnecessary, so we have to be a little bit sharper and smarter in those areas." Of course, Nguyen was ejected after earning a second yellow card only two weeks ago. A veteran like him needs to be more careful with his tackles.
3. Saturday’s game against the Chicago Fire is a must win. Fine, this thought is full of hyperbole since the parity in MLS prevents any game before Fall from being called a "must win." Still, the Revs need to get out of their funk and avoid extending their annual winless streak past six games. Playing at home against an Eastern Conference foe is as close to a must win as you’re going to get at this point in the season.