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Revolution 1, RSL 4: A disastrous start dooms the Revs

Oh boy.

MLS: New England Revolution at Real Salt Lake Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Revolution had little to offer on Thursday night, as they were downed 4-1 by Real Salt Lake. Here’s what you might have missed.

Quick Recap

The game got off to a quick start, as Nick Besler scored in the 4th minute. The counter attack goal was assisted by Corey Baird and Damir Kreilach. Sabastian Saucedo doubled RSL’s lead in the 14th minute, putting a low drive past Brad Knighton. Things got worse in the 29th minute when Baird collected a goal of his own. The Revs were awarded a penalty but Teal Bunbury couldn’t beat Nick Rimando. The miss did nothing but hurt the Revs, who conceded soon after the break. This time it was Kreilach finding the back of the net. Kelyn Rowe got a consolation goal in the 69th minute.

Quote of the Match

Head coach Brad Friedel was very upfront after the game, explaining that he didn’t like what he saw in the first half. To him, mentality was a big factor in the loss.

“The first half was awful. A lot of the players were on their vacations, all they did was outwork us. We knew they had a lot of direct balls – they do every game. Quite frankly, it has nothing to do with a tactical thing, this was a team that outran us. That’s one of our strengths, one of our good mentalities and traits but it wasn’t there.”

What it Means

Although the Revs are out of playoff contention, I don’t believe Friedel has any obligation to play his reserves. Sure, seeing these unknowns is interesting to viewers since we don’t regularly attend practices. That said, Friedel watches these guys every day. He should know what he has and he should be putting out the guys he believes can win.

This doesn’t mean that Friedel shouldn’t be criticized for the starting XI he named on Thursday. His team was poor during the opening stanza, prompting Friedel to make two changes before the second half began. This, to me, is a sign that he got things wrong.

Regardless of if last night’s outing had to do with personnel, tactics, or mentality, things need to change if next year’s squad is going to make the playoffs.

What’s Next

The Revs return home on Sunday, Oct. 28 to face the Montreal Impact. Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm.