Through 75 minutes of Sunday’s match at Yankee Stadium, the Revolution looked destined to earn its first road win of 2017. And then David Villa scored an equalizer. And then Jonathan Lewis scored a stoppage-time winner. Chalk it up as another heartbreaking loss for the navy and red, who have struggled to close out matches this season.
Here’s who stood out (and who didn’t) against NYCFC:
The newest Revolution defender went into Sunday's match with the odds stacked against him. He started beside a new-look back four, against an elite attacking team, in and an unorthodox venue. But none of that fazed the French defender, who immediately looked comfortable in his center back position. He read the match well, found a quick rhythm with Antonio Delamea and showed toughness in the air and on the ground.
In the end, Dielna strung together several highlight moments, the best of which came in the second half when he confidently intervened on a one-on-one with Jack Harrison. The sample size is small, but Dielna looks like a valuable addition for the Revolution.
When you're hot, you're hot. And right now, Bunbury is on fire. His goal against NYCFC didn’t flash individual skill or finishing class, but rather showed what happens when a forward has found his form. Bunbury was the only player who followed Andrew Farrell’s unthreatening shot on goal, and his hard work paid off when Sean Johnson spilled the rebound. The goal represents Bunbury’s fifth in his past six outings.
For the icing on the cake, the Akron grad also contributed on the defensive end by earning a game-high five interceptions. He’ll look to stay hot Saturday against D.C. United.
While playing out of position as part of an unfamiliar back four, Angoua held his own. A night of clean passing (91 percent completion) and smart decision making helped the Revs keep a clean sheet throughout his 61-minute shift.
Unfortunately, Angoua melted down after picking up a yellow card early into the second frame. His behavior turned reckless thereafter, and Jay Heaps had no choice but to pull his right back. “I was really concerned if Benji was going to make it through the rest of the game,” Heaps said in his post-game press conference. “You couldn’t calm him down...we didn’t want to go down a man.”
Angoua’s actions put Heaps in a difficult situation as his team tried to hold a road lead. And his actions may have made the difference. Shortly after the substitution, the Revolution defense began to lose its shape. For the first time on the night, the back four looked wobbly, and David Villa made the unit pay with a 77th-minute equalizer. Angoua will have to do a better job of keeping his cool down the stretch.
The longest tenured Revolution player has fallen out of the mix in recent weeks. Through the spring and early summer, Tierney earned sporadic starts and substitute appearances as Heaps worked to keep his left foot in the match. But the Wellesley, Mass. hasn’t seen the field since July 22.
On Sunday, Heaps started a natural center back (Angoua) at right back and a natural right back (Farrell) at left back. That move may mean Tierney has fallen behind Farrell, Rowe, Dielna (who has experience playing on the left side) and London Woodberry (who came in as a defensive substitution on Sunday) in the pecking order.
There’s no doubting that Tierney has lost a step over the past year. And while he has already matched his 2017 assist total in 10 fewer matches, he has a created a fraction of the goal-scoring chances he created in 2015 and 2016 (0.8 per match in 2017, compared to a 1.8 average from 2015-2016). The long-time fan favorite has seemingly fallen out of favor in Foxboro.
All stats courtesy of WhoScored.com.